The Young and the Deskless

There’s a popular Internet meme that goes like this:

Exasperated Parent: Go to your room!

Today’s Child: Oh, you mean the place with my phone, TV, and computer? I’M ON MY WAY!

When you were sent to your room as a child, did you want to stay there? What did you have in your room? A telephone, board games, a TV, a video game system, a cabinet full of toys?

I never had a TV, but I always had toys and books, and when I was a teenager, I had my Game Boy and a radio. I neither had a phone nor wanted one. I didn’t get a computer in my room until I was in college. At that point, I also got a desk on which to set up the computer (it was a big clunky desktop). The desk was where I did all of my writing until 2016, when I finally got a laptop and was no longer confined to my room.

Do kids today have desks in their rooms? Do they have books? If they don’t, they ought to. I’m concerned about kids not having decent attention spans because all they can focus on is the world inside a tablet or a phone. The standardized tests today cannot measure their ability to focus, their creativity, or their critical thinking.

There is something magical about desks and writing and books that encourages creativity. Kids should be taught from an early age that what is inside their imagination is important and should be expressed. What better place to do that than at one’s own desk?

Poetry Time: One Moment

once His blood was enough to quench me
my stomach grew larger and fought all sweetness
His blood, His flesh no longer enough
my head grew larger and fought all reason
His love, His sacrifice could not satisfy
my heart grew smaller and fell away

if I could have just one moment with You…

my heart was too small to be broken,
my love too short to be noticed,
I may as well have been in the grave
among the skulls, the medals, the trinkets,
without Your penetrating light
to sear my soul
i gorged my stomach on what could never be
on what was so far from You

if I could have just one moment with You…

my eyes first turn toward the mysteries
that never could be mysterious enough
my hears perked to hear the story
that I thought I could best
and I found the greatest gift
that I could never have bought for myself

if I could have just one moment with You…

Precision of Language

If you’ve read (or watched) The Giver, you know about that dystopian community’s emphasis on precise language. Never say “I’m starving” when you simply mean that you’re hungry.

When you’re writing, precision and accuracy of language also matter. While at a conference this past week, I learned that precision could mean that you have a bunch of words that all mean pretty much the same thing, but none of those words is really accurate, in that they hit the target directly and say exactly what you wanted to say.

Image result for precision versus accuracy example in writing

In today’s culture, we have a bad habit of using euphemisms and weasel words to obscure our intent and meaning. We speak and write to make ourselves and what we’re saying look good, but the underlying truth behind what we’re speaking and writing is something totally different. It could be precise, but it’s not accurate.

Make sure you say what you mean. Making what you’re saying unclear can only lead to confusion for your reader, and your job as the writer is to make the reader’s job easier. If they have to work to figure out your true meaning, they probably aren’t going to read much more of your writing.