Excerpt from
The Jensen Family

"That Melissa makes me so mad," Julie fumed as the family drove home from church. "She thinks the whole world revolves around her."
"What happened, Honey?" her mother asked from the front seat.

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#82- Grammar Girl

A Character story about kindness.

"That Melissa makes me so mad," Julie fumed as the family drove home from church. "She thinks the whole world revolves around her."
"What happened, Honey?" her mother asked from the front seat.
"Well, every time Mrs. Finch asked a question about the lesson, I would raise my hand, but then Melissa would blurt out the answer. Then she would look around grinning this stupid grin to see if we were impressed. I was not! I wanted to tell her off, but I bit my tongue."
"Good for you," her dad replied. "Telling her off would accomplish nothing but interrupting the lesson."
"Yeah, well, her brother is just like her," Jason offered. "I wonder what it would be like to try to get a word in edgewise at their house."
"Well, let's not have roasted Melissa for lunch," Mrs. Jensen said, smiling. "But we can learn a lesson. And we can pray for her and Mike."
After lunch, as the kids were taking their dishes to the kitchen, Mr. Jensen suggested, "Say, why don't we call Grandma."
"What's that?" Jason asked.
"I said, why don't we call Grandma and see how she's doing."
"Oh, that's right," Julie remarked from the kitchen. "I do have some Grammar to do for tomorrow. We spent too much time playing yesterday and I never got my assignment done."
"I'm guilty too," Jason admitted,. "Only I didn't spent it playing with dolls."
"Well," Mr. Jensen said as the twins returned to the dining room, "I don't much care for you doing homework on Sunday, but if you don't have it done, I guess you have no choice no matter what the reason."
Following dishes, the twins spread their papers on the dining room table while their dad got the phone. He looked at his two frustrated children, and laid down the phone again. "What's the problem?"
"I kind of get this stuff, but I don't know how I'm going to remember it," Jason was saying.
"What is it you're studying?"
"Homonyms, Antonyms, Synonyms, and Heteronyms. Hey, the first letters spell, 'Hash,' which is about what it seems to me to be."
"That's for sure," Julie agreed.
"Well, let's see if there's an easy way to remember them," Mr. Jensen offered. "So what is a homonym first?"
"Let's see," Julie said. "that's a word that sounds like another word but they're spelled differently, like bare meaning uncovered, and bear meaning an animal."
"Or like altar and alter," Mr. Jensen added. "A-l-t-e-r means to change something, and a-l-t-a-r is a place of worship. If you alter the Bible instead of bowing at the altar of God, you get into trouble."
"I get that," Jason said, "but how can we remember it?"
"The suffix 'nym' has to do with sound and homo means like. So a homonym is a word that has like sound with another word but different spelling. The opposite would be a heteronym which is a word that looks the same as another word but is pronounced differently. Can you think of an example?"
"I don't think I've every seen one," Julie said.
"Oh, sure you have. How about W-O-U-N-D. Use it in a sentence."
"The cut was a bad wound," Jason said.
"I was thinking of, 'the string was wound tightly," Julie said.
"There. You just illustrated a heteronym. Two words that look alike, but have different sounds and different meanings."
"Oh, yeah. Cool," Jason responded. "OK. How about synonyms?"
"The prefix in this word means 'together.' Synonyms are words that have the same meaning, as you would find in a dictionary. The opposite would be antonyms, which are words that are opposites, like right and left."
"Or right and wrong," Julie added.
"For sure, which shows that right has more than one meaning."
"OK," Jason said, "We covered them all, but I still think I'm going to get them mixed up."
"Let's make a little chart here, and put the words in alphabetical order." Mr. Jensen wrote the four words down the left side, and three words across the top: look, sound, and meaning. "It seems to me we're talking about the way words look, how they sound, and what they mean. So let's put a + in each blank if the words are the same, and a zero if they are different."

look sound meaning
Antonym 0 0 0

Heteronym + 0 0

Homonym 0 + 0

Synonym 0 0 +

"That's neat," Jason said. "The first one is all zeros, and each one has one plus that moves to the right one. I can make one of these when we have a test and keep them straight easy."
"There's another interesting parallel here," Mr. Jensen continued. "See if you can follow this. When Jesus went to heaven, His followers all believed the same thing, what the apostles taught them. The antonyms can stand for the people who were unbelievers. They didn't look like Christians, they didn't sound like Christians; they didn't claim to be Christians. But after a while, when it became popular to be a Christian, a new teaching came in that later was called liberalism. They claimed to be Christians and looked like Christians. However, their doctrine didn't sound like the truth, and didn't mean the same as the Bible taught. They are like heteronyms for they looked like Christians but didn't teach the same thing or mean the same thing that the Bible taught. Around 1900, a group started called neo-orthodoxy. These teachers said they were Christians and they sounded like Christians but they didn't mean the same thing we mean with the Christian words. They talked about faith, for example, but they didn't mean the same thing the Bible meant. They were like homonyms, sounding the same but meaning something different. Yet, all through history, God has made sure there are true believers. They don't always look the same, like synonyms. They don't always sound the same, but what they mean is the same, that is, that Jesus is Lord and Savior and salvation is faith in His finished work."
"That's cool," Jason responded. "I never thought you could teach a history lesson from grammar."
"I think Daddy can do anything," Julie responded, giving him a hug.
"Well, thanks. But I have a question for you, Sissy. You were upset about Melissa's behavior in Sunday school this morning. How did you respond to her? If you responded like an antonym, then you didn't look, sound or act like a Christian. If you responded as a heteronym, then you looked like a Christian even though you didn't act like one. If you responded as a homonym, then you at least sounded like Jesus even though you didn't really mean it. But if you responded as a synonym, then you responded in love and really meant it."
"I-I guess I didn't quite measure up. But I will work on it next week. Maybe if I act like a synonym Christian, she'll be more likely to do the same."
"Good idea," Mrs. Jensen added. "Now, let's call Grandma before another grammar lesson interrupts."