I’m always trying to keep up with my kid’s language, and they are always laughing at mine. You know what I'm talking about. It's the generational language, like, when I didn't know the real deal behind the phrase "hook you up" and they rolled their eyeballs, then kindly brought me up to speed. Or the first time they said, "that's low key" something or other and I had no clue what they meant. It's not a one-time thing, language evolves and just when I think I understand the vernacular, it totally changes. Ironically, even my kids don't get some of the slang of their younger counterparts. 

Here's what piqued my interest in all of this. The other day we were talking about  friends and I learned that we no longer refer to female friends as girlfriends. "They're all just friends, mom unless there's something going on". Duh. Eyeroll. Then, to explain further, apparently, it's common for people of the 20-something generation to look past gender, or, more accurately, not to assume gender. 

All of this has me wondering, what else don't I know? This may just be true for me, but I tend not to pay attention to language that I don't understand. How much valuable information am I missing? I will also admit that sometimes when I ask what a word or phrase means, it's just a silly thing or sometimes even embarrassing. Maybe I don't need to ask about everything I don't understand, but then I might miss something important.

Ultimately, I think it's important to understand, to ask questions when I don't understand, and to listen to the answers, whatever they may be. These people are important in my life, and the only way to achieve connection and strengthen my allyship is the pursuit of knowledge, however uncomfortable it might be for me.

I appreciate my 20-something mentors' attitudes. They try to be patient with me as I make my way to a better understanding. If you don't have a 20-something mentor, get yourself one as soon as possible. You might be surprised at how much you can learn, and what wise guides they can be.


March 02, 2023 — Rebecca Porterfield

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