I think most people consider the word now to be easily defined as addressing something presently (or in that moment) – hence the phrase, “do it now” equates with the intent that something be done that moment. That is how I define now…not next week, not in five minutes – NOW. Amazingly, my children – all four of them – have varying definitional interpretation frameworks for when I utter the word now.
The oldest child, Sarah, defines now as most of the rest of the world does – as a statement of the present moment. She is actually in alignment with my definition of now which leads me to believe that I clearly did something right with her.
My second oldest child, Noah, defines now as when he decides now is. That can vary from utterance to utterance and situation to situation. He bumped his head a lot as a child (his nickname was Boomer after all), so I attribute some of this confusion to those childhood spills.
My second youngest child, Cory, defines now in a framework much as a grand jury would – with questions about the need for now and why now was the approach taken as opposed to later or in a little while.
My youngest child, Cheyenne, defines now as something to consider 15 minutes from now and at that point to perhaps reclassify as much later. To Cheyenne now is really nothing more than a sticky note reminder in a world full of sticky note reminders.
It is extraordinary to me that they are all so different as it relates to their definitional interpretation frameworks when I utter the word now. Even more extraordinary though is how different the meaning becomes when they utter the word now as a request directed at me. In that situation now always means in the present moment. Amazing isn’t it? The ability of three of my four children to reclassify the meaning of now based upon whether they are the deliverer or recipient of the word.
Having recognized the problem, I think I have struck upon a solution. I certainly don’t need a grand jury to get to the bottom of this one…oh no, the next time when a now is directed at me by the three creative children whose definition is other than my own I will respond, “In a little bit.” That response will no doubt generate the following question, “When is – in a little bit?” And my response will be, “How was it that you definitionally interpreted now? Apply the same definition to in a little bit.” I feel really good about my approach to this issue. I do believe we will quickly reach a level of definitional clarity as it relates to the meaning of now.
Day five hundred and fifty-seven of the new forty – obla di obla da