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September 16, 2002

IM'ing with the A-Boy

While I was teaching tonight, Alex was wrestling with this assignment to write a teen version of the UN Declaration of Human Rights. You can see his struggle on tonight's entries at After first writing up a long warmup and then a very short list of demands, he winnowed it down to "there's already a human rights declaration, teens are human, that's all we need." He was proposing just handing that in, but I imagined that his teacher might look at that as taking the easy way out even though he arrived at it after lots of thought. He left voicemail asking for my opinion so rather than wait until I got home, I launched iChat and we were instantly in touch.

Me: Sooooo,,,,, looking for a quick way to get this assignment done, eh? I don't think your teacher would go for it.

A: hi
A: not really...
A: I just don't think Teens have any specific rights...

Me: And you still think the assignment is to write up your actual rights rather than proposing that things change?

A: I posted a revision to my original declaration...

Me: On
A: yeah
A: well, after thinking back, it's more of a wishlist...

Me: Me go there.

A: I'm starting to think it's a sort of Kobiashi-Maru...
A: I mean, I can't think of a real answer...

Me: OK... here's a thought:

A: *all ears*

Me: Do the long preamble about intergenerational lah-de-dah from your first draft and then go into the last version saying "we don't need anything more". I think that accomplishes her goal to get you thinking and writing and your goal to speak the truth.

A: cool...
A: okay
A: *copying to a stickie*

Me: My work here is done. I'm coming home now.

A: okay
A: cool
A: mom is about to go get food
A: I'll tell her to wait

Me: Ah... where's she going?

A: I'm not sure

Me: Ax.

A: McSomething or Mexican...

Me: I'll have a little Mexican. Don't have her wait.

A: what do you want?
A: k
A: brb
A: back. okay...she'll go to a mexican place then

Me: OK that gives me a few minutes to wrap things up here. I'll be home in about 20.

A: okay. seeya then!

Me: Bye kiddo
A: bye!

Such an ordinary conversation. Hardly worth blogging. But someday he'll be in college or sitting at a desk somewhere and I hope we'll continue to chat. The content will change, the medium will get more intense. But just for the archives I wanted to save one conversation here. I like being a Dad.