President’s Message: The IALAC Tag

One of the perks of being the District president is that each month I get to write a short message that will be sent to thousands of fellow transportation professionals. And while I can’t force anyone to read it, it’s still a nice little platform that I have to put to good use.

Theoretically I would use this space to talk about some hot topic in our industry right now. I gather, reading through the ITE Community posts recently, that this might include driverless vehicles, the long-term trend of America’s declining VMT, and “Share the Road” plaques. However, these topics are all being discussed in that forum already, and by people more knowledgeable about each subject than I. So I would like to address a different topic altogether, a topic that electronic forums, because of their outward anonymity, often brings to mind.

When I was in grade school, apparently when the Free to Be You and Me tape was unavailable, I remember seeing a filmstrip about the IALAC tag. An IALAC tag is an imaginary tag that each person wears around his neck. “IALAC” stands for “I am lovable and capable.” Everyone starts his day with a complete IALAC tag. The thing is, IALAC tags are fragile, and each time you are unkind to another person, you rip away a little piece of that person’s IALAC tag. When someone’s IALAC tag gets down to just a scrap, she will look down and begin to wonder if she really is lovable and capable. Alternatively, you can also protect and build up someone’s IALAC tag with kind words and gestures. Think of it as laminating it. Every day we have many opportunities when we can either rip off a piece of someone’s IALAC tag, or protect it. Remember, others have the same power over your tag. Choose wisely!

I hope to hear some feedback on this month’s message or I’m threatening to write about another 1970s esteem-building video: Cipher in the Snow.

Yours in ITE,

Karen Aspelin
Karen Aspelin, P.E., PTOE
Western District President