Though these days the term wordmonger refers to "a writer or speaker who uses language pretentiously or carelessly," please join me in proposing a new meaning. A fishmonger appreciates and promotes fish, therefore, a wordmonger does the same for words.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Benevolence


Benevolence

I just read Mary Penney’s new & exciting middle grade novel, Eleven and Holding. For more than one reason, it got me thinking about benevolence. It wouldn’t be fair to say the book is about benevolence, but it features some secondary characters whose benevolence truly shines. 

As does the author’s.

Mary is one of those quiet people out in the world doing good things. She doesn’t need people to know she’s doing good, she just does it.

Mary would like to grow up to be a philanthropist (insert laughter from anyone with intimate knowledge of a children’s author’s salary here). She makes the point that if one has goals, one needs to practice. And how does an up-and-coming philanthropist with a small income practice? By giving in small bits. So Mary gives. In everyday little ways, in offering conference scholarships to authors, in helping veterans, in sprinkling kindness here & there, & in writing books that offer hope & bring smiles to kids’ faces.

Mary is a poster-child for benevolence, a word which appeared in English in 1400, through Old French from the Latin word benevolentia. The bene- part of the word means good or well, while the –volentia means to wish. A person who is benevolent is spending his/her time & thoughts wishing others well

If you’ve been watching or reading a lot of news these days, you could probably use a reminder that benevolence happens. You’d probably benefit from spending time with good people wishing others well, perhaps giving in small bits. If so, you might want to read Mary Penney’s middle grade novel, Eleven and Holding (HarperCollins, 2016).

And if you’ve got a bit of time, how about clicking on comments below & recounting a benevolent act you recently encountered?



Big thanks to this week’s sources: Etymonline, Wordnik, Collins Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, & the OED.

6 comments:

  1. Mary sounds like a fantastic person.

    Fun fact: In Italian, a young man doesn't use the expression "Te amo" (I love you) when he's wants to say he's fond of a young woman. That comes across as too formal. He says, "Ti voglio bene" Literally "I wish you well." Or at least that was true when I was young enough that young men might say that to me. :-)

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  2. Hi Anne - great back-up story for this post. Thanks. And yes, Mary is a fantastic person.

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  3. Oooooh, Charlie!!! How absolutely kind of you! I am deeply touched. Thank you SO much!!!

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    1. Hi Mary - I'm glad you came by. & keep up the fine writing & generally benevolent behavior.

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  4. What a lovely tribute to Mary. You are also a very generous person in so many ways. It shows in this post. And, you have inspired me to read Mary's book! Thanks!

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    1. Ahoy Christine - while reading Mary's book, keep an eye out for a benevolent character who doesn't appear so when the reader first meets him. And thanks for coming by.

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