© 2024 WNIJ and WNIU
Northern Public Radio
801 N 1st St.
DeKalb, IL 60115
Northern Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Perspective: Ill communication, m'dude

Pixabay, Unsplash, Pixlr

You know me, my number one priority is to bring the generations together. I listen to the kids so you don’t have to. It’s easy for we “far-side of middle-agers” to dismiss anything the 20-somethings say as noise, but the wee ones actually have a lot of insight. A young person told me she thought old people could have opinions, but no one past fifty should be allowed to vote. I was shocked, but after the past four years, I have come to agree.

Let’s talk about cross generational communication for a moment, and please allow me to Dansplain' a few things.

To my fellow post-quinquagenarians, e-mail is an annoyance, designed for speedy, laconic messages. We don’t offer salutations or regards, warm or otherwise. We save those for personal letters and thank you notes.

But the kids today, they’ve never written a letter with a pen. If they need to say it fast, they text an emoji or a d-pic. An email takes effort, you have to sit down to compose it and use an address. To a teenager, this the equivalent of donning a powdered wig and pince-nez. An email from my students might be three paragraphs long, begin with hopes that I had a fine evening, and that I and my family are “doing well,” before finally asking what chapter they’re supposed to read, almost as afterthought.

If I respond, “Chapter eight,” send, they feel slighted. It seems curt and rude. I need to say, “Dear Dylan, I found the warm turn in the weather to be salubrious and am glad to hear your weekend was a sick one. Check out chapter eight, m’dude.”

Warmly, I’m Dan Libman, and P.S., this is my….

Dan Libman is an author, teacher, correspondent, and adventurous host of the WNIJ podcast Under Rocks.