For more than ten years academic directors of institutes and members of educational institutes dedicated to teaching English as a foreign language turned to me for advice and answers to amazing questions about our language. I learned more about my own ‘mother tongue’ after I began teaching it than I ever learned in schools between Kindergarten and senior high school.
One of the numerous problems I was faced with was creating interesting classes to help make sense of such words as “stand”. We often precede ‘stand’ with a noun, the name of an object, thus, music stand, bedside stand, concession stand, etc. were born. So many times it is combined with a word or phrase that brings a totally different concept or meaning to a conversation. Sometimes my students looked at me in bewilderment and asked, “How are we ever going to understand English?”
We learn our language from the cradle up. As little children we make mistakes in pronunciation and learn from our mistakes. Nobody thinks it strange, though funny sometimes, and somehow we grow up understanding when to use “stand out” and “stand up”. Those are quite simple uses but what about when “stand” is coupled with phrases? The translations do not carry the same meaning in another language because too often our interpretation is ‘cultural’. I learned this the ‘hard way’ when trying to rent a home in South America. There was a house (half of a double) I wanted very much to rent. I talked with the owner and we agreed on a price. Neither of us had paper on which to write but I told him that in my country a handshake can stand for a written contract. This was true many years ago. The next time I saw him he was waiting for me on the day I was to begin moving into the house. The owner said he was sorry but someone had offered him more money and unless I agreed to pay as much, I could not move into the house. Obviously a handshake did not mean the same to him as to me.
“Stand up”, by itself has a simple meaning as does “stand for” and I doubt anyone would question it. However, if I added just one word and said, “stand up for” there might be many questions as long as the phrase is ‘out of context’. “Stand up for’ what? My rights? The singing of the National Anthem? A prayer or dedication? The meaning is clear only depending on where we are and what else is being said or is written. Not to confuse you but to give you other examples, ‘stand’ is used in multiple ways in the English language.
Stand out – easily seen; stand in – one who takes the place of another person, usually an actor or actress; or “stand in line!” which is a command; stand by – wait; stand by me – give me support and agree with me; stand against – lean against a doorway, wall or other solid material, OR, stand against to be opposed to something. As you can see there are many ways in which a person might interpret the meaning of the word and be correct. The context allows us to know the meaning.
In these troubled times my first reaction to writing an article about “stand” was “what do I, or will I stand for?” There are so many protests, aggravated and aggravating announcements made by the media, complaints and reports of criminal actions we can actually view on TV that I have begun to ask myself ‘what I stand for’. If addressing each possibility individually the answer is not easy. Few of us know everything that is involved in most of the confrontations the media presents to us and as a result there are a lot of “knee-jerk” responses from the masses. I can sit in a comfortable chair and make judgments as to how a situation ‘ought’ to be handled, but do I really know all the particulars of the complaints, reasons for reactions etc.? I could get so mentally and emotionally involved in a dozen things going on in our world today that I would be doing nothing more than adding fuel to the fire of negative energies that permeate our atmosphere at this time. Why should I want to do that? Is that what I stand for, to add my kicks and screams to the pot of discontent that surrounds me? No!! So what do I stand for and how can I make it count for anything positive?
We seldom hear about the pre-school child in day care who learned how to call 911 and saved his mother’s life. We do not know how many young students are involved in scientific research that will bring hope to millions now waiting for solutions to unanswered questions. How many times has the news media flooded the news with accounts of people helping and saving strangers in flooded areas, fires, earthquake disasters, all of which have happened one after the other within weeks? Babies are born every day but I’ve not heard of any mothers being helped with supplies in a disaster area where there are none and yet I know it happens.
I can’t travel to the disaster areas to give any help but I can and do help with prayers and positive thoughts. They are valid! Each time I send loving thoughts out from within me, they join with others of their kind and a way is found to give help to someone. I mentioned in an earlier article a book of amazing value. “POWER VS FORCE” by David R. Hawkins, M.D., PhD. is that book. He presents many unknown and “Hidden Determinants of Human Behavior” and one of my favorites is his explanation of how our conscious thoughts exert the energy needed to help others. The book was copyrighted in 1995 and a 4th printing came out in 2000. Hawkins made a statement in his book that said, “Although only fifteen percent of the world’s population is above the critical consciousness level of 200, the collective power of that fifteen percent has the weight to counterbalance the negativity of the remaining eighty-five percent of the world’s population.” I don’t know if we have fallen short of those figures in the past fifteen years but I prefer to think about how much help we are when we think positively rather than join the masses with more and more distrust, anger, hate and resentment. If “one individual at level 300 counterbalances 90,000 individuals below level 200” as Hawkins suggests, imagine what a prayer group might accomplish.
My point is this; ‘I stand for Peace’ but too many people misinterpret even simple statement. I’ve been in groups of people who have echoed that statement with loud fervor, but they weren’t really peaceful. They claim they pray for peace in the world every day, but they do so while at the same time they complain about crimes in the community, the need for ‘gun control’ because of school shootings, pros and cons about abortion regulation, etc., etc. The people within the prayer group are anything but peaceful. The Peace I stand for is the Peace that comes from within. If I do not feel, and cannot express peaceful thoughts and ideas how can I claim that “I stand for Peace”? I personally have to work at it daily and catch myself from expressing resentment when I hear about anyone being mistreated. I must remember that my perception of a wrong doing is ‘my perception’ and my idea as to ‘what I stand for’. I might not have all the information needed to make a loving, peaceful comment. Even though I come short of being successful my intention is to “stand” for Peace. Peace within myself regardless of what is going on around me, so my Peaceful energies/thoughts can be released into the ethe and join those of others is my idea of being able to affirm that I stand for Peace.
Note; To clarify the meaning of the numerical ‘levels of consciousness’, the following is a quote from Hawkins book, “Power vs Force”.“Whatever calibrates above 200 supports life and therefore may be functionally defined as good.” The testing to determine the calibrations is simple and explained in the book.
-Rowena Nichols, Columnist ‘Row’
Rowena Nichols, RN, Dr. MMT, PTA. Registered Nurse with BS in Nursing, Dr. of Medical Massage Therapy, and Physical Therapy Assistant(Certification). Beyond the use of her mass credentials, she has had a “full and rewarding life,” including living and teaching in Chile and returning to nursing at age 80. Currently, she is writing articles for several Newsletters and magazines, including problem solving for tutors of English at a Literacy organization in New Mexico. She recently celebrated a book release, Wired for Changes: My Recovery from a Stroke. Send your request and a bank check or money order for $10.95 to; Rowena Nichols, P.O. Box 65552, Albuquerque, NM 87193. Shipping is included.
Photo credit: Joshua Ryan Gwin