In So Many Words

Books of Educational and Informational Comics from Larry Paros


Book V: Playing House (Marriage and the Family)

Careful Now

Do you care? Do you truly care?

A quick peek at the new Random House Dictionary shows fifteen different meanings for the word. When it came down to selecting its primary definition, the editors finally settled on "worry" and "concern," from the Old High German, chara, "lament" or "sorrow."

Caring, meaning, "being concerned or solicitous," "having thought or regard for another," finished, alas, a poor ninth.

That's perfectly understandable. Care has long been associated with paying close attention to the details required to properly complete a task. Failure to do so causes others to consider us "careless."

Exercising care, you see, isn't for sissies. The process is punctuated with anxiety. We have even been encouraged to "take pains" in doing so — hardly an appealing concept and one sure to leave us chary.

Perhaps it's time, however, to take some of the anxiety out of caring, to be less chary and more carefree. This would at the very least, allow us to give freely and openly to others without regard to the consequences or discomfort.

How delightful, if when we speak of being careful it is less about "proceeding with caution" and more of being "full of care."