Tuesday, February 21, 2017

"Nobody is ever going to take you seriously.”

Mark Bauerlein explains certain truths that parents need to convey to their offspring:
.... All of you who are parents must institute a list of proscribed words in the home. The idiom of adolescence must go. Start with six words:
  • like
  • awesome
  • cool
  • whatever
  • stuff
  • basically
When the “likes” pop up, as they do in nearly ever thought some youths utter (“...and I was just like...and he was like...”), hold up your hand and start counting them. When the “awesome” comes, stop your child and say, “Hey, give me five synonyms for it,” and help him with “marvelous, wonderful, astounding ….” When a sentence gets punctuated by stuff (“Yeah, I had to go to the library and do some homework ‘n stuff”), ask for details.

As you train the young in better speech, you should justify your efforts, as I do with my students when the juvenile banter fills the room:
“Guys and gals, you may think you live in a non-judgmental, tolerant, free-spirit society that takes you as you are and appreciates your individuality. That's certainly what your friends and social media lead you to believe. But when you go out into the big world, you're going to be judged all the time. People will judge you on how you dress and how you stand and sit. They will judge you by your words. They will judge you even when they say nothing, but only look at you and listen to you. If you insert a like into every sentence, nobody is ever going to take you seriously.”
These are hard truths, but explaining them is a parent's duty.
When I take the Badger Bus to Milwaukee to visit my brother I am almost invariably surrounded by University of Wisconsin students going home for the weekend or for a holiday. Having to listen to their personal or cellphone conversation is excruciating.