For a recent TV news segment, I was interviewed about Instant Messenger language conventions. I have no problem with “IM talk”. Every generation of kids has had its own defining lingo. I give the kids credit for inventing it and urge them to incorporate it with other dialects or codes of English they know and use.
Every dialect or code has a perfect context. Standard English, for example, is generally the language of commerce. Folks, young and not-so-young, basically use IM talk when socializing on-line with friends. IM talk is efficient and evolving. Most people only use the most common conventions like LOL, BRB and other bold-faced items on this list.
Instant Messenger is generally off-limits on school computers. So the majority of IM conversations involving students occur at home.
Some parents may be in the dark about IM lingo and IM-ing, in general. No need to over-react. I remind parents to keep open dialog with their kids . . . that’s just parenting. . . and watch for signs of serious problems like Internet addiction. Intervene as necessary.
IM is to the kids what (rotary) phones were to me growing up. A good place to keep the family computer is out in the open. I always ask my children to whom they are talking when they are on IM. I often ask them to explain their IM processes to me just because I’m curious how it all works.
I challenge the reporter to think way beyond technology when it comes to preparing our students for their futures.
Health is high on my list as a future-ready component. Increasing longevity may do more to re-define our nation than the latest chipset and what we do with it. Are we focused enough on teaching students to make wise choices in matters of health so they can live fulfilling and long lives? Are we ourselves good exemplars?
A future-ready envelope pusher is what Hankin in The New Workforce (2004) defines as the “need for higher purpose in the workforce.” This brings me to a counter-cultural character education ideal I pulled from a book I’m reading called Father Joe (Hendra, 2004):
A saint is a person who practices the keystone human virtue of humility. Humility in the face of wealth and plenty, humility in the face of hatred and violence, humility in the face of strength, humility in the face of your own genius or lack of it, humility in the face of another’s humility, humility in the face of love and beauty, humility in the face of death and pain.
Saints are driven to humbling themselves before all the splendor and horror of the world because they perceive there to be something divine in it, something pulsing and alive beneath the hard dead surface of material things, something inconceivably greater and purer than they.