One Word at a Time Raising the Barr Weekly Memo: Issue 579

Occasionally, I ask a guest contributor to write my weekly newsletter. Today I decided to ask my wife to do so. Thank you, Laurel, and here it is:

I must be honest; I wake up each day and immediately open my phone to see what has happened in this wild world for the few hours that I closed my eyes and left my troubles and burdens rest too. For some odd reason, I signed up for the Word Daily, an app that sends me some strange word to say aloud, one that I’ve never heard before to start me on my day. Opening my phone to learn my new word before I can barely open my eyes can seem like a small act, but its impact resonates far beyond basic vocabulary expansion. Words are not just tools for communication; they’re nuggets of knowledge, gateways to understanding, and keys to unlocking new perspectives.

The daily ritual of learning a new word helps inject some curiosity into my daily routine. It weaves a tapestry of linguistic history and uncovers some cool, hidden gems that help change my perspective and enrich my understanding of the world. Each new word is a little puzzle piece that I practice fitting into the correct space of my imaginary verbal puzzle.

Learning new words stimulates our brains, keeping them agile and active. It’s like a mental workout, flexing the cognitive muscles responsible for memory, attention, and problem-solving. Studies have shown that engaging in mentally stimulating activities, such as learning new words, can help stave off cognitive decline as we age, promoting long-term brain health and resilience.

The simple act of opening my phone each day to learn a new word is not an exercise—it’s a catalyst for personal growth, a nourishment for the mind, and a testament to the transformative power of learning. Today I learned effulgent which means shining brightly or radiant or (of a person or their expression), emanating joy or goodness. What a great start to my day, waiting for the sun to shine effulgently and to feel so good about the bright sun that I want to spread joy all around. It’s true, I got to work this morning ready to sing and teach my preschoolers with a big smile on my face and in return I received in extraordinary number of hugs and kisses from them in return. I’m so exhausted at the end of my day as I write this, but I’m sure that tomorrow’s word will bring more light, more fun and more learning for me. I’m setting my alarm for 6am, or maybe 6:30, and open my phone to be blinded by its glaring light and ready to learn. Next week, I’ll challenge anyone to a good game of scrabble. Even if I lose, I’ll be the effulgent one at the game table.

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