Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Communicating Across Generations

I recently had an encounter with a young man of about 13 years of age. I had given him answers for a Halloween station he was to facilitate. As soon as he attempted to read the paper I had given him, I knew we had a serious problem. A deep sense of fear overtook him and he handed the paper back to me saying he could not read what was written. I had used cursive writing instead of printing. Our ability to communicate had taken a direct hit.

While attending L-580 this past spring, a number of participants had discussed the coming trend of public school systems eliminating cursive writing from the curriculum. Little did I know that it would be only a few months until I encountered my first experience with this new barrier to communication.

The new generation firefighter communicates differently. Right, wrong, or indifferently, changes in communication methods generally require that the older generation adapt.

I enabled my young friend to succeed by printing my work; however, there may be times in the future where technological ineptness or other factor(s) may render me unable to communicate. I keep myself open to new ideas and methods; but, I may find myself in a similar situation as my young friend some day.

How do feel about the ever-changing face of communication? How are these changes affecting communication in the wildland fire service?

No comments: