Archive for textese

Aug
05

Good Men Speaking Well

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OMG, IM totes rite 4 ths j0b!!1!!

How would you respond if you saw this on the resume of a prospect you were considering hiring? I suspect not favorably. Yet USA Today reported in 2006 that New Zealand’s high school students would be able to use the language of texting in national exams.

Are students today being prepared to speak and write well? What does it mean to speak and write “well” anyway? Having a strong lexicon of OMG’s and LOL’s?

Most young people today are bilingual: they know English, but they also know Textese, the chopped and re-assembled language of texting. Debates rage about the impact Textese and Twitter are having on the English language and on the English skills of young people as well. That technology affects us all is without question. That technology such as cell phones and computers are here to stay is also without question. But how will we prepare our children to navigate a world in which ubiquitous technology threatens to shape their minds and souls far more deeply than our own training of them?

Don’t interpret these words as an anti-technology or anti-texting rant. I am pro-technology, and I am known to text on occasion. But I do want us to consider how our children are being shaped and trained. Childhood is a hothouse of intellectual and spiritual development. Children are developing habits of mind and life that will affect them for a lifetime. Their theology, like ours, is, as Douglas Wilson often says, coming out of their fingertips. We, as parents and educators, must be intentional in shaping our children’s minds and hearts.

Technology, like everything else, is not neutral. We are commanded in the Scriptures to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Cor 10:4) and to bring up our children in the training of the Lord (Eph 6:4). Our task as parents is to train and shape our children to think, love, and act a certain way, to embody a certain culture. We are called by Scripture to model obedience to God ourselves and then to inculcate that obedience into their lives (see Deut 6:1-8). This training certainly encompasses how our children speak and write, for Christians are called to be discerning, winsome, effective communicators of truth, beauty, and goodness. This training also encompasses our children’s use of technology and their relationship to the world.

What we are about at Regents Academy is constantly raising the standards of our childrens education, resisting the cultural inertia toward being dumbed down. Is texting a threat to excellence in education? Not if we are doing our jobs as parents and as educators. We will be training them to think and speak well, whether they text or not. Together we are training our children toward a different standard, a godly excellence, a commitment to clear thinking and wise living that will make a real difference in the world for Christ.

Until next time, CUL8R.

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