Friday, January 16, 2015

Raised versus Reared

In contemporary times most people refer to a child's upbringing as being raised. That is an evolution of American English. It was once considered proper grammar to say that children were reared rather than raised.

The term raised was used in reference to farmers bringing animals to maturity for market or growing crops until ready for harvest. Now, to say that one was reared rather than raised only tells the age of the speaker or makes him sound as if he is talking down to others.

Being somewhat of a grammar Nazi I avoid both terms. Instead, I will say, for example, that I was "brought up in Iowa." When you think about growing up in Iowa, which is a state stereotypically thought of for agriculture, it throws a much different connotation into the phrase "raised in Iowa." 

Thinking back, Dad often had colorful ways of getting his point across. I remember, on occasion, that one of us would be told that if we were going to eat like hogs then we could get away from the table and he would get a feed trough for the offender to eat out of.

One thing that I'm certain of, though, is that I felt more reared than raised when a high velocity motivator, applied for benefit of behavior modification, impacted my backside. However, in extreme needs of motivation I was occasionally raised by the sudden impact of a size ten-and-a-half boot to my rear.

One of my father's favorite warnings when my behavior wasn't in sync with his expectations was to say, "If you don't do like I told you right now then you and I are going to be going to the hospital to get my foot taken out of your butt."

Years later, as an adult, that conjures quite the humorous visual image for me. Imagining that I am walking into the emergency room slightly hunched over with my father hopping behind me on one foot will always bring a smile to my thoughts. My mother would have had to drive us, though, because Dad could never have managed the clutch of his three-on-the-tree manual shift transmission on the old Ford. Nonetheless, the warning was effective back in my childhood.

Thankfully, it's all behind me now.