Dear BF (Best Friends),
My first encounter with text-speak came a few years ago when I received an e-mail with LOL in it. Deciphering it like some word puzzle, I concluded the meaning to be “lots of love.” I was wrong. It meant “laugh out loud.” Then someone signed a note with YBIC (your brother in Christ). Text-speak had entered the Christian community, and although I wasn’t thrilled with trying to learn another form of communication, I knew it was here to stay.
JTLYK (Just to let you know), the younger generation does not consider text-speak a minor amusement; it’s the coded language they know, embrace and accept. ATM (At the moment) millions of “Baby Boomlets” are maneuvering their fat and bony fingers with lightning speed on tiny cell-phone buttons to send encrypted messages to VBF (very best friends) and NE1 (anyone) they know. You see them doing this at meetings, in classrooms, at the mall, and secretly under the table at restaurants or at home when they feign to be having a conversation with someone else. Those of us wanting to dialogue with “tweens,” teens or young adults may have to ease out of our comfort zone.
Is it important to communicate with the younger generation in a language they understand? I guess we could take a W.C. Fields approach and say, “Go away kid, you bother me,” but somehow I don’t think that’s what Christ would do.
Jesus had a special affection for children. Children during his era, much like women, were to be seen and not heard. Yet he told his disciples to let the little children come to him and even placed a child by his side and said, “Whoever receives this child in my name receives me…for he who is least among you is the greatest” (Matthew 19:13-14; Luke 9:46-47).
Did you know that kids will tell you something in a text message they would never share with you in person? So maybe it would be wise for all of us to learn a few cryptic phrases. We already know FYI, PBJ, and RIP. Parents might want to be familiar with key abbreviations like P911 (parent alert), PRT (party), PIR (parents in room), or POS (parents over shoulder). Trust me (TM); it’s not as hard as it looks.
I send BW (best wishes) and GL (good luck) to those who want to venture into the world of text-speak. Sure your kids might LOL at your effort. Then again, if you don’t go OTT (over the top), they might say, “TUVM (Thank you very much) for caring.” Who knows? A little ILU (I love you) in a child’s message box from mom, dad, grandma or grandpa might get an ILU2 response!
By Barbara Dahlgren