I felt a pang when I read this sentence in my new recipe book: No one disputes the healthful properties of fish. All those great omega thingies protecting our arteries and keeping strokes and heart attacks at bay. But fish is also the hurried cook's BFF. (emphases mine)
Last night I was leafing through a Scholastic Book catalog that arrived at our house. I remembered how I used to read it as a child, carefully savoring each title and circling the many books I wanted. But what a sad surprise to see a plethora of titles such as, Underpants Thunderpants!, Cinderalla's Bum, and Me Want Pet! (These may be wonderful books, but the titles would seem to belie that.) Further perusing led me to the book, Wind in the Wallows, a knockoff title from the great children's classic, which is, sad to say, a book about flatulent pigs. What a horrible literary legacy we are giving our young!
I believe the Bible should be accessible to all people in all places and have no quarrel with recommending translations that are more understandable than the King James Version. At the same time, I deeply regret that many newer versions eradicate all the beauty and majesty of biblical language.
Psalm 18:18-19 in the New American Standard version reads: They confronted me in the day of my calamity, but the Lord was my stay. He brought me forth into a broad place; He rescued me, because he delighted in me. A more modern version reads: They hit me when I was down, but God stuck by me. He stood me up on a wide-open field; I stood there saved - surprised to be loved! Am I the only one who thinks that this is distressing? It makes God sound like my BFF, which is certainly belittling to His greatness, power and love.
I know I will be accused of curmudgeonliness, but I can't help but think that when we translate phrases to their lowest possible difficulty of meaning that we are robbing our children (and ourselves) of one of life's exquisite beauties - words that take us beyond our daily reality and lift us to a higher plain.
On a more positive note, a second grader was reading to me recently from a book called Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes. Most of the book is in simple, childlike language, but occasionally Henkes throws in a word to savor like: "Pish!" or "winsome" or "jaundiced." I loved it that he respected kids enough to trust them with big words.