How A Dad Opened Up To His Teen And More
My day of reckoning that I was the older one, hit me at work, when one of my millennial teammates could match my eye lock and yet continue to text simultaneously on his smart phone. A skill, I am doggedly figuring out.
On the other hand, during lunches with colleagues who have teenage kids, texting is a topic that bubbles up. Having heard a multitude of cravings for face to face communication, one of them had this to share — it stood out for the refreshing approach of a parent.
“My teenage son was in his room, there was some great food on the dinner table. In my inspired moment, I had called out that dinner was ready. After 2 callouts, my wife tapped me on my shoulder and suggested that I text him. I am lumbered to electric socket to pull out my cell phone from charger and texted him. I had a text back before I put the phone down. I got intrigued.
Later that night, chucking the late night show, I texted my son- “how is school?” He sent me back alphabet soups. I was bewildered and that got my wife’s attention, she was sitting next to me on the sofa. What a timely moral support based on her own adventures earlier in the year. It is few months since that day, my son and I communicate often and understand each other better.”
I added — “Is that why, you texted for lunch rather than email/phone today?” It was his turn to chuckle –“I am practicing every day, alphabet soups not withstanding.”
2) River of Thoughts: My Office Experience
Many moons ago, The CFO and Chief Strategist walked by my team- “Houston, we have a problem … we would like you to look into it.” After their download, my chief data scientist and I started to brainstorm. On a good day, he was the rocket scientist I liked to be around — nudging each other’s thoughts, letting our thoughts meander culminating in deltas of insightful information.
On other days, the floodgates of our thoughts may not be in sync. The tempest of his thoughts unleashed may go over my head. In such conversations, the furrowed look of the brows are common place. A look that says– “I am not sure about what he/she is saying.” On the other hand, the proponent of thoughts also has a puzzled look of a slightly different kind, a bewildered expression- lips a little parted and a look that says–“I am not sure what I am missing.”
That day was one of those tough days. The good news: We did solve the problem by the end of the day.
What did we do?
I had a moment to reflect on my ride back home. Something my friend said that was lost in the intensity of the discussion. From our desk, we naturally gravitated to a white board. He grabbed a marker, as he unscrewed the cap, he said- “let me explain.” And when we turned to write — he wrote mathematical equations. I was able to understand his thought process methodically, he felt understood and we turbocharged our collaboration.
I chuckled on this reflection. Until then, equations personified concepts and relationship between variables.
It never occurred to me that equations are an aid in human relationships — the art of understanding and being understood.
An equation may not be eloquent poetry but it sparkles in its clarity of communication, the compactness of expression, denseness of meaning — counterbalanced by the dizziness to the uninitiated. Connecting the two stories, just change one word in the sentence above:
Acronyms used in texting may not be eloquent poetry but it sparkles in its clarity of communication, the compactness of expression, denseness of meaning — counterbalanced by the dizziness to the uninitiated.
The reality is that all of us like to communicate — be both understood and understand. The aids for the art of the communication are not restricted to pictures, words and spoken language, it extends beyond — equations and texts acronyms are a type of shorthand. It the world of smart everything, they are the smart shortcuts. Are even shorter, smartcuts.