Wednesday, May 4, 2011

We All Have A "But"

Ok, I know it goes without saying that we all have a butt, however, I realized recently that we also all have a "but".   Let me explain:  A "but" is when you say a, seemingly, innocent or innocuous statement and then change the entire meaning of what you say with a "but".   The "buts" in our house are really getting to be a problem.  Let me start with mine.  Eric or the boys will bring up something they want to do, such as camping, or go to Legoland or take a certain summer vacation.  I will say something like, "Oh that sounds like fun, BUT __________ (fill in the blank)."  I'll inevitably change the meaning of "oh that sounds like fun" by tacking on "but we don't really have time for that" or "that's a little too far away for a weekend trip"  or "I think it will be too expensive". 

Eric's "but" is "I'm sorry I'm late, BUT..."there was a lot of traffic", "a last minute meeting came up","I decided to go surfing with the guys".  You get the picture.

John, my ten year old with Kabuki Syndrome, also has a "but".  Part of his syndrome is that he has almost no verbal filter: he says what he thinks, when he thinks it.  Yesterday at the pool, a toddler started fussing.  John's response was, "why doesn't that mom take care of her baby so it will stop crying!"  When I asked John why he felt the need to say that out loud, he said, "I knew I shouldn't say it...BUT it was true".   We hear that a lot from John, "I knew I shouldn't say it...BUT..."I wanted to" or "that kid was too loud" etc...

Finally, there's Robert's "but"  Robert can get so wrapped up in an activity that he doesn't want to be pulled away from it for anything.  Often when we call Robert or try to get his attention he doesn't answer.  When we finally go hunt him down somewhere in the house he will say, "I heard you BUT...I was still working on this lego thing" or "I was in the middle of a chapter" or "I was playing a game".

As a speech therapist I had to learn the parts of speech in great detail.  Of course, most of you already know that the word but is a conjunction (conjunction junction, what's your function).  However, different conjunctions are used for different reasons.  But is used to show opposite or conflicting ideas.  The conjunction so  is used to show result.   I understand that sometimes "buts" are necessary, however, often, a "but" is just an excuse. So, my family is going to work on decreasing our "buts". Instead of using a word that implies opposition or a conflict of ideas we're going to use a word that shows results!   We are going to replace our "buts" with a "so".  I will try to say, "Oh, that sounds like fun SO lets do it!"  John is going to say, "I knew I shouldn't say it SO I didn't!"  Robert's new response will be, "I heard you SO I came running!"  Eric's new mantra will be, "I'm sorry I'm late SO I brought you flowers!"  :-)

Yes, I know that all of that is just in my fantasy world of the perfect family BUT I do think we all need to be a little more aware of our words and what we are actually saying and expressing with those words.  If something sounds like fun...then let it be fun!  Don't damper the meaning of the words by being contrary.

At the beginning of this post,  I said that we all have one. 

 So...what's your "BUT"?  :-)

1 comment:

  1. One of my favorite Pee Wee Herman quotes: "Everyone I know has a big 'but.' Simone, let's talk about your big 'but.'"

    And about John's having "almost no verbal filter: he says what he thinks, when he thinks it," to quote Ellen DeGeneres, "I thought, boy, wouldn't that be great?"