Word of the Month: Elaborate

In Paris, school begins next week, the first Tuesday of September.  Although école does conjure up images of friends, I mostly think of classes, homework, and the recurring feedback teachers give children:   “Approfondir!” Elaborate!

What does "elaborate" really mean? 

Who’s job is it to elaborate?  Just the students...or teachers and parents as well?

Where else does the concept apply?  At work?  At home? 

According to Webster-Mirriam’s, the verb “elaborate” means “to give more details about something; to discuss something more fully; to bring (something, such as an idea or a plan) to a more advanced or developed state.”  Like the rebus:  (m)e works hard to overstuff with insight.

More or Less?

Fundamentally, this is a frustrating word.  The reference point is past, insufficient performance.  Why bother with more if one has enough?   Criteria for success remain fuzzy.  It’s like John D. Rockefeller’s answer when asked how much money is enough:  “Just a little bit more.”  The end can never be sighted.

More Because You're Worth It

And yet, asking another to elaborate on their ideas conveys confidence in the person.  We ask for more because we believe in that person’s greater capabilities.

More Focused

So how will “elaborate” change my life this month?  I’ll chose

          To clarify instructions (with the kids to start) and the basis for them as if casting a vision

          To challenge others to fully develop their thoughts, even to the point where they perceive the link between their beliefs and corresponding actions

Is that sufficiently clear and engaging?


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