My love for French began at a very young age. Through Jason's job I have now had three opportunities to explore France and it has not disappointed yet. I love the architecture, the history, and the language. I grew up near Detroit (3 miles from where I now live) so that means we picked up Canadian TV stations. Every morning we watched Mr. Dressup and Sesame Street, but because of a timing issue it was more convenient for our schedule to watch the Canadian version of Sesame Street than the American version. Because it was Canadian, a good portion of the show was in French including the alphabet and counting to 10. I fell in love with the sound of French - it's like speaking in cursive! A friend gave me a cassette tape with French children's songs that I listened to over and over.
Regrettably, I did not study it as a foreign language in school, but that didn't stop me from loving it and learning it informally.
Music provides words and spirit for many young people and for me the music was The Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables, and Beauty and the Beast. There were a few others but those three soundtracks were particularly captivating to me. As I explored the Paris Opera House, walked the narrow and briefly barricaded streets of Les Halles, and snatched glimpses of the Paris country side, I could hear those soundtracks in my head. (For the record, I've also read each one of these books and understand they are works of fiction. I've also read a great deal about the French influence on the United States.)
The opening of Beauty and the Beast brings us to our word of the day. I learned what bonjour meant from later in the song when we hear "Bonjour, good day, how is your family? Bonjour, good day, how is your wife?" Bonjour is a greeting, but literally means "good day." I also learned that Belle means beauty, but those weren't the words that caught my imagination though.
Today's Word: Provincial
Three syllables. Pronounced [pruh-vin-shuh l] Defined on dictionary.com as having or showing the manners, viewpoints, etc., considered characteristic of unsophisticated inhabitants of a province; rustic; narrow or illiberal; Belle wanted more than a provincial life. The people in her town were narrow minded and non-readers. They didn't understand her desire to read about far away places or her yearning for adventure in the great wide somewhere.
Narrow mindedness can attack any place or people. We are under that attack now as we are able to get our news from our political point of view, search for churches that confirm our beliefs, and watch sports broadcasts that celebrate the greatness of our chosen teams. This is dangerous because it leaves us without the need to defend and thereby refine our opinions. Wherever we look around we can see ideas that confirm our thoughts and keep us from broadening our viewpoint.
Travel and reading broadly can combat that mindset. Travel wakes me up to new ways of thinking and doing things. I have differing opinions with many of the books I have read, but as I read things I disagree with I go back to the Bible and see what God's Word states and often I am challenged.
I, like Belle, want so much more than a provincial life. I want adventure in the great wide somewhere full of ideas and exciting stories. Thankfully, because of the age we live in that is a possibility well within reach. Get out there and explore the world though both literal and literary journeys. It doesn't have to be a long trip to a foreign destination. Check out the cities within easy driving distance of you and your own town. Read books that challenge your way of thinking then go back to the Bible to firmly plant your thoughts in Truth. Together we can celebrate a life of adventure and exploration.
"A jack of all trades is a master of none, but oftentimes better than a master of one."