Archived Story

Stubbornness can stop potential growth

Published 10:16am Monday, March 4, 2013

Column: Something About Nothing, by Julie Seedorf

I have to take some time to study and learn a new language. It is essential that I take the time to do this. I have to do this so that I can read and reply to what it is my grandchildren are texting to me. I realized this a few weeks ago when I received a text from what I thought was my daughter-in-law.

I looked at the text and thought: Does she have a virus on her cellphone? Then I decided maybe I had a virus on my cell phone. I texted my daughter-in-law back and asked her if she just sent me a text?

Julie Seedorf
Julie Seedorf

I got a reply immediately. It said, “Grandma, it’s me,” and then there were more strange signs after that. My granddaughter is 9 years old, and we like to text each other. I didn’t want to admit that I had no idea what she just texted to me because she thinks Grandma is cool. I didn’t want to change her mind about my coolness.

Immediately I googled the symbol and found it meant heart. I didn’t check out what she had sent earlier. I found the symbol for something else and texted her back.

It was then I realized that I was going to have to learn another language so I could continue to communicate with my grandchildren.

I printed off the list of chat acronyms and text message shorthand. There were 37 pages. Wow, I was amazed. I wonder if our kids someday will not know how to write anymore. They will have symbols for their names.

In a way it is a little like the shorthand I learned as a teenager. I loved that because many of the people I knew, including adults, didn’t know shorthand, so those of us that did could send each other messages in shorthand, and no one could read them. Passing notes in class was cool because others couldn’t read what we wrote. It was almost like having our own secret society.

I suspect that is what teens like about this, too. Most parents don’t understand the language their kids are using when they text or use instant messaging.

I was amazed when I visited netlingo.com. Every day this website has an Internet Acronym of the day. The day I visited the acronym was lttic. Look the teacher is coming. Netlingo is The Internet Dictionary.

Us old folks may have a hard time accepting the new society we live in. We like to use the Internet and Facebook, we want our computers to work. Most people just want to be able to turn their computer on and do what they want to do. I have heard many times “I am too old to learn this.”

We have a choice, because I don’t think the world is going to stop for us. It is just going to leave us behind if we don’t take the time to learn new things. Yes, learning new things about our computers and our phones and the way we do our banking and pay our bills is confusing.

We can make up our mind that we don’t want to do it and not try. If you believe you can’t, you won’t. If you believe you can, you will. I have heard it in my own household. I heard the words “I am not doing Facebook!” many times over and over again. Finally, I convinced the other person in my household to try it, and believe it or not, just like Mikey, he likes it and looks forward to re-connecting with family and old friends. He is learning new things without my help.

Trial and error are the best teachers. We are too hung up on berating ourselves for making mistakes, rather than understanding that every mistake is a learning experience. Occasionally, stubbornness when you get to be my age stops us from growing and expanding our horizons. Could it possibly be that stubbornness is born out of fear that we won’t get it, and possibly we might fail when it comes to learning about the new world out there? If that happens we move on to the next thing to learn.

I was never very good at math. I still am not very good at math. I tried again in my old age to pick up the more difficult part of mathematics, and again I realized it is not for me. However, in trying different things and failing, I do find things that I enjoy and am good at, that I would have never expected. Had I not tried, I would have not found out about talents I never knew I had or was to afraid and too stubborn to seek out.

2nite, 2moro, AYOR, MMYT and remember you have the ability to go WNOHGB.

Wells resident Julie Seedorf’s column appears every Monday. Send email to her at thecolumn@bevcomm.net.