I teach rhetoric to 11th graders, and it has become apparent that some of my students believe that we should not spend so much time studying rhetorical devices and tropes. Either it’s a waste of time or, worse, it’s a form of manipulation and deceit. I'm not surprised that some students don’t get jazzed about exploring the beauty and depth of language, much less how to give a persuasive speech in front of one’s peers.
Our youngest son is just now beginning to communicate vocally. His older sister is forming sentences and learning new words every day, but we are just as pleased with the occasional grunt or squeal we get out of him. On one level, we are excited because this means that he is developing normally—something we never want to take for granted. But on an entirely different level, it also means that each day we are closer to hearing him describe his world in a way that we can understand. He is slowly learning to use his words.