Pick a word. No, no, not that one. Don’t pick just any word. Stick with the nouns. Then build a picture around that word. Now build several pictures around the word. See how many you can come up with.
Now let’s try some of the words that have been most popular over the past 50 years. War. Peace. Born-again. Saved. Hope. Change. Green. Oil. Profit. Insurance. Not only do pictures come to mind, so does a whole range of emotions. Single words carry more power than whole pictures.
Now let’s do something more interesting. Let’s add a second term to the noun. Oil is a good one to work with. Oil barron. Oil change. Oil well. Heating oil. Now we have some specific meaning attached to each exression. And while each one can still convey a set of images, and some may overlap, each is still the property of the new word pair.
A word paints a thousand pictures. A collection of words paints a set of ideas. But unfortunately the current under-30 generation is not one which reads. Too much X-Box, internet porn, and television porn. Is it any wonder, after having been taught a few catch phrases in 12 or so years of school, that they have all the answers and that history is now meaningless?
The best thing we can do for our children is to encourage them to read. And better yet, teach them to write.