I am currently writing a collection of letters to my daughter that I can hopefully put in a book about secular parenting at some point. I want to share a letter I recently wrote. It doesn’t really have anything to do with a secular childhood, but it’s still kind of fun, nonetheless.
When I first went to college, I was occasionally called “fresh off the farm” due to my country accent. I was embarrassed. I actually worked pretty hard at trying to sound like I was from the city or suburbs. One word where my accent was particularly noticeable was “again”. I would pronounce it “ah-gee-an”. I didn’t even realize I was putting a whole extra syllable in it until it was pointed out to me. I practiced saying “again” over and over and my accent became less noticeable. I now think it’s pretty sad that I was self-conscious of how I spoke and I regret ever trying to change it.
Meanwhile, I had a professor from Mississippi who had lived here in Ohio for decades and still had a thick Southern accent. He didn’t care. It was a part of him and even kind of charming. I should have followed his example.
Today, I am proud of where I’m from and I know I can’t help how I speak. Now I consider it an endearing part of who I am — just like my professor from Mississippi.
I know as a teen and young adult you will probably want to get the hell out of Ohio — I know I did. And that’s okay. You are free to explore and I encourage you to go.
Our ancestors were some of the first settlers to the Great Black Swamp of Northwest Ohio and our family has lived here for generations. This is my home and I hope you feel that way, too — whether you settle down here or not. I hope you will have many good memories to carry with you as you find your place in this world.
Wherever you end up, please always be proud of who you are and where you’re from. You will always be welcome here.
Who else here has a fun accent? Are you proud of where you’re from?