Wednesday, 16 January 2013


Withenay's Wednesday Word - a series about words and their meanings. 
Sometimes the word is chosen because I like it, sometimes because it is unusual, sometimes because I have heard or read it in the previous week; often because that is just where the dictionary took me. Together we can expand our vocabulary, inch by inch (or maybe letter by letter). Your challenge is to invent a sentence in the comments box that includes it.

the act of intervening (a noun)
from the latin interventio - a coming between.

I have heard the word intervention a lot during the last week. There is talk of troop intervention in Mali. The teachers at school discussed what intervention was required for the pupils to achieve all that they were capable of. My husband's expertise has been called upon to specify what intervention was required for a particular patient.

What struck me, as I was listening to the news on the radio the other day, is that I was not sure whether intervention a 'good' or a 'bad' thing. By definition, it interrupts the flow, the status quo. That has nothing to do with being 'good' or 'bad', although change is often difficult to cope with or adapt to.

The intervention of troops always fills me with fear. As a peace-loving individual I wish this was never needed. School intervention is another frightening phrase, bringing images of poorly behaved, or poorly educated, children requiring drastic measures to make them 'normal' (whatever that might mean). Medical intervention is the most positive of the lot - leaping in to save a person's life - but perhaps the least pleasant. It doesn't usually mean that all is well: in fact, it usually means that without the intervention things would be a lot worse.

Yet intervention is given a positive twist. In Mali, it is to maintain peace and order. At school, it is to provide the best for the pupil. In a hospital, it is to save a life.

My daughter might ask if it is a good word or a bad word. What would you say?

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