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Friday, July 12, 2019

No Problem


My son is an interesting young man. He is equal parts nerd, laid-back surfer (this is so unfortunate, seeing that where we live is land-locked), hopeless romantic, and adventure-seeker. To illustrate just how “chill” he is, when I asked what he thought about this description, he said “I can dig it.” His unique personality has enabled him to get along with a wide range of people. He talks about how regularly visiting his great-grandmothers taught him patience and to value the life experience and stories of seniors. His big sister taught him even more patience and how to be friends with people several years older and, incidentally, in a different generation (she’s a millennial; he’s Gen Z). His calm, people-pleasing demeanor has served him well as a lifeguard, a barista, and at his current position. He often shares stories about the variety of people he meets – of different ages and backgrounds – and how interesting they are. Recently, he shared a different anecdote with me. He failed to connect with a baby boomer because he said “no problem” instead of “you’re welcome.”

“You can’t say that!” I exclaimed when he shared the story with me.
“It’s rude! Of course it shouldn’t be a ‘problem’ to help someone. You’re at work to serve them! If you want to piss off a boomer, that’s a quick way to do it. Just say ‘you’re welcome’!”
“No.” he replied.
“What?”
“Let me explain…”
Thus began a conversation about why many people in his generation say “no problem” instead of “you’re welcome,” and I have to say: he won me over.

He explained that “you’re welcome” implies that it has been an imposition to ask for whatever service was needed and that the customer has taken some of your time and effort, and for that, they should feel “welcome” to that time. It implies that even though it was mutually beneficial, the exchange has taken something from the person who provided the service – something they can never get back, like time.

He further explained that “no problem” means that he sees it as absolutely no imposition at all to help the customer because that is his sole purpose for being there, and that no thanks are necessary. He does not feel that there has been an exchange in which he had to give something up, like time, because he is truly happy to help.

I’m not saying that I haven’t been annoyed by a millennial or two (or several) who have said
“no problem” in an off-handed, lazy way, but I’ve been just as annoyed by workers who don’t say anything or say something automatic and insincere (like “have a good day” when it’s 11 p.m.). I especially hate it when I’m the one who says “thank you” when it should be them saying it to me!

My son received, by his estimate, a 5-minute lecture from the customer about saying “no problem” instead of “you’re welcome.” He did not explain his choice to the man at that point because he just wanted to listen respectfully and restore peace. He has learned from the experience and will consider switching to “you’re welcome” to avoid inadvertently offending someone, but we must do our part, too.

Boomers, Gen Xers: I challenge you all to talk to young people about the choices behind their language. Young people change and adapt language in every generation. We can never forget that intention and tone matter at least as much as the words themselves. Remember to react from a place of compassion even when you feel you’ve been slighted, and for that reminder – you’re welcome.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Her Face: A Photo-inspired Poem

Inspiration for this poem came from http://www.ethicalela.com/8-verselove-2019-with-travis-crowder/ for #verselove2019. Instructions were to:
  • "choose an image–a photograph, an image from history, a gorgeous landscape–and let your thinking land on the page. Let the words pool and then, once the collection grows, start arranging them. Let the poem sit for a moment, then return to it. You’ll be amazed at the thinking you want to add."
Following the link to the New York Times Year in Photos for 2018, I found several photos that inspired writing. Here is the result of one of those photographs:




I Hear You: A Photo-inspired Poem

Inspiration for this poem came from http://www.ethicalela.com/8-verselove-2019-with-travis-crowder/ for #verselove2019. Instructions were to:
  • "choose an image–a photograph, an image from history, a gorgeous landscape–and let your thinking land on the page. Let the words pool and then, once the collection grows, start arranging them. Let the poem sit for a moment, then return to it. You’ll be amazed at the thinking you want to add."
Following the link to the New York Times Year in Photos for 2018, I found several photos that inspired writing. Here is the result of one of those photographs:


Thursday, April 11, 2019

Nirvana

#Verselove2019 (Day 11) asks about the places that give us "the feels." I definitely have a favorite place, but I have written a prose piece about it previously - one I share with my students. 

I decided to take that prose piece and clip lines from it in order to cosntruct a poem. I actually found this really rewarding, as it prompted me to think about which lines are truly important and which aspects of the experience are worthy of repeating as I transformed the message into a new genre. 

I also refrained from using any punctuation at all - quite a feat for me! I do enjoy a good punctuation mark ;) 






Wednesday, April 10, 2019

These Books

I didn't get past the first line of the day 7 #verselove2019 challenge: 

What books nudged you as a reader? 

I did trace my hand on the page of my journal (boy, are some of my fingers crooked!), and I began filling it with the books my mom read to me, the ones I read during the year that influenced me the most (4th grade), and the books I read during adolescence. I listed such an absurd variety of texts, but I am so glad that those books allowed me to explore the world. The greatest gift my mom gave to me (other than my life, of course) is a love of reading. 

For more poetry inspiration, check out http://www.ethicalela.com/7-verselove2019-with-travis-crowder/




The Best Part of Me

The second #Verselove2019 inspiration/prompt called on writers to capture the best part of themselves. Boy, did I struggle with this one! I'm not very good at tooting my own horn, so to speak, but I'm working on that. 

I am sure of one strength - one that helps me connect with and care about my students: empathy. See this site for more poetry-writing ideas: http://www.ethicalela.com/two-verselove2019/ 


Sounds Like Home

Happy Poetry Month! I will do my best to write a poem each day this April; however, it will be difficult. I am already behind, but I will write 2-3 poems on days I can, and hey - any amount of writing is always better than none. I am writing this during reading (SSR) time in class, so please keep in mind that this is a quickly-scrawled draft. This is no masterpiece, but it means something to me today, in this moment. 

Please look for inspiration here: http://www.ethicalela.com/one-verselove2019/ #verselove

Instructions were to write about something good. I noticed, as I started drafting, that I had a lot of sound imagery, starting with my original first line "It might sound trite..." (which I crossed out), so I stuck with sounds. I might complete a series with other sensory imagery as well. The #verselove blog also suggested playing with dashes and repetition. I ended up with only one dash and a sprinkle of repetition. Thanks to all my family and friends for your sounds of laughter and love - I thought of many more people and examples than I had time to write about today.