In So Many Words

Info-Comics by Larry Paros

Where Your Likes Began

Two, four, six, eight, whom do we appreciate? — our kind of people, that's whom.

In case you hadn't noticed, we're a caring and generous folk, with the roots to back it up. The Gothic kuni not only created our kin; it also made them kind (pronounced initially with a short "i") as well. It also made for the German kinder ("children") and the kindergarten ("Garden of Children"), a word coined in 1840 by the German educator, Friedrich Frobel, describing a context for developing intelligence in young children. How generous and thoughtful!

Kindness, you see, is an attitude peculiar to us, and which we reserve solely towards our kinfolk, our best features deriving from the group into which we have been born.

The Latin genus, gener, "breed" or "kin," made us generous, "full of the spirit of our group." Gignere, gent-, not only helped us beget, but also spawned the genius in us, "the guardian spirit of the group." "Being of that group" left us gentle, congenial and being (con) "with the group." Thank God we were spared the degeneracy that comes of falling (de) "from the group."

In keeping with the spirit of things, might we then show that same generosity and congeniality to others who are not of our kind?

It would really be the kind thing to do.