Ahhh. The infamous spelling bee—full of twists, turns and lots of emotions. It takes great preparation and is a pressure cooker. Why bother if it ends up being so stressful?

With an overreliance on technology and autocorrect to fix and catch all of our mistakes, we need a movement back to the basics. We are doing our children a disservice if we minimize the importance of the fundamentals. To me, spelling is the foundation of good communication. If words are used correctly, our message can be incredibly powerful. If spelled incorrectly, it changes the meaning and our true intentions. More importantly, our kids can benefit from hard work and a little elbow grease.

To me, it’s not necessarily about prevailing in the bee. There are more benefits than detriments beyond just winning.

Memorization

Undervalued and a key ingredient to doing well in life and school. I am not suggesting that memorizing is more important than a fundamental understanding, but it does have its place. You will inevitably be faced with committing certain things to rote memorization: mathematic formulas, speeches, historical timelines/dates, definitions, social security numbers, etc. Plus, memorizing exercises the brain in incredible ways.

Concentration

For a kid, it takes a level of focus and dedication to sift through two single spaced pages of words. Fatigue sets in and endurance is the name of the game. If you keep plugging ahead, progress will be made. If you give up, you will never reach your full potential and test your limits. So keep buzzing along.

Hard work

Theodore Roosevelt said, “Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty… I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well.”

Isn’t that the truth? We gain the most when we go out of our comfort zones and work on things that may not come easy. Perhaps spelling is easier for some than others, but when you get into more advanced words, we all have something to learn.

Learning the definitions

I found that I sharpened my skills and ability to succinctly explain the meanings of words and I must admit, I looked up plenty of words up myself. Lassitude, pestiferous, panegyrics?! Is it just me? Anyway, there is a lot to be gained for kids and adults alike. And, in case you were curious (like me), according to dictionary.com, here are the meanings:

Lassitude:
weariness of body or mind from strain, oppressive climate, etc.; lack of energy; listlessness; languor.

Pestiferous:
bringing or bearing disease

Panegyrics:
a lofty oration or writing in praise of a person or thing; eulogy.

Competition

There is a lot to be said for the act of competing. If viewed in a healthy, productive way, it can really bring people together. It invites a commonality and spirit of teamwork. When used constructively, competition can be a guidepost for one’s own improvements—it’s not necessarily about how well someone else did, it’s how much progress you made. I saw the growth in my own child and was blown away by her commitment, work ethic and can-do spirit.

Exceeding your limits

If you never push the boundaries, you will never achieve breakthrough change. Life is not about always being able to do what you love (although that is the goal). But, there are moments that you will need to step up and dig deep to accomplish something about which you are moderately enthusiastic. This was a good start.

As a feeling of the lassitude pours over me today, I remind you put yourself out there, strengthen the building blocks, do it joyfully and know you can do anything you put your mind to.

So how did my girl fare? Well, Hispaniola did her in. In life, you must always cross your ts and dot your i’s because the details matter. And, in this case, make sure you capitalize!

In the end, she let it bee, but it was a better than decent effort.

Decent. d-e-c-e-n-t. Decent.

Roopa Weber
About Roopa Weber
Roopa Weber is a blogger and children’s book author who aspires to inspire better lives through kindness and gratitude. Her motivation came from the values and love provided by her mother. Roopa wanted to find an avenue to instill her mother’s wisdom in her own daughter and carry the message forward generationally. And, so she wrote.