Thursday, May 8, 2014

Culture Shift

Is Facebook becoming irrelevant? The teenagers I have worked with this past year have presented me with a dilemma and it is one of relevancy. Facebook is no longer a teenager's choice of social media. The teenagers I worked with in Maricopa, AZ preferred Instagram and the teenagers I work with here in Peoria prefer Twitter. Both groups expressed that Facebook was not accepted as a main form of communication because their parents, grandparents and even their dogs were on Facebook.  It is a problem of privacy that teenagers are seeking. They don't want to be monitored. What they are saying is they want a place free from adult supervision. They want to be adults and the way they perceive being an adult is to not have an adult in the to speak.  This is not a new idea by any means, this is the nature and essence of being a teenager. Twitter and Instagram might be the new Facebook which was the new MySpace, but the symptoms are still there.

Teenagers have a problem of a split personality. Who they are in person is not who they are in their tweets, posts and hashtags. Even at a Christian school, students don't think they have a reason to influence their peers for Christ and forget that their social media presence is where their integrity starts.  If you wouldn't stand on a microphone in front of your parents, teachers and peers in an assembly and say to them your comment  from the night before then it is no different then when you utter words of shame from your phone for the sake of a laugh from afar.

A real man will say in person what you post online and won't hide behind the facad of digital space as a disguise. Maybe we simply need more positive role models around, not just real ones but invisible ones leading from a distance. It isn't enough to avoid a place of darkness, those of us who are called to minister to teenagers need to be fearless and on the front lines of this smart device, digital, wireless, 4G generation. Maybe when we let them into our daily lives as we retweet God's goodness that we will find it stick in their hearts more then the pain they hide.

This post is for my current and future students, may you find a beacon of hope from a leader who is trying to point the way. I don't want to "monitor" you unless you force me to, I more want you to see the way I live my life and what it looks like to live with a higher calling and purpose. Not that I'm perfect or have it all together but I understand now that you don't just need me in the classroom, you need me on your twitter feed. You need examples and reminders of how to pick yourself back up and continue to move forward even when your mistakes seem too great. I welcome you to follow me and see my life through my own eyes. Through my blogs, posts, tweets and pics come and see the world through my eyes and I hope you find yourself there. After all that is what the obscured path is all about.

Blessings my students and friends,
Mr. Diaz

P.S. Facebook isn't going anywhere just because you left it. I'm sure your children someday will laugh at a thing called a tweet.