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1 month ago
I came across a list on Facebook titled "40 Old-Fashioned Skills That Kids Need to Know Today." It was put together by the site Frugal Fun for Boys and Girls.
Going over the list, it's quite interesting that many of the items appear to be quite simple and basic (i.e. how to make a phone call, how to take a message, how to introduce yourself, how to have good table manners) but it struck me that these really are skills that kids today don't know, are clueless about, or just don't care for.
Come to think of it, the world is so different today than it was half a century ago when life was not the rat-race it is today, when interacting with people meant doing it in person, and when even those who appeared to be rogues (or actually were) knew how to be respectful.
It dawned on me that kids today don't know how to make phone calls or take messages because most everyone, however young, have mobile phones where messaging is the norm, or calling up someone simply requires scrolling through a list of contacts and the person answering the call is actually the one you need to speak to.
Whereas if doing it the old-fashioned way using a landline, they'd have to start with a greeting (good morning; good afternoon) and ask to speak to the party they're calling because one can't assume they'd be the one to pick up the phone. And all this must be done with a pleasant and respectful tone.
Even the person who answered the phone will have to be polite and say something like "Please hold on while I get so-and so" before going off to call that person, and not just scream at them to say someone was on the line.
And who takes messages when there's texting or apps like WhatsApp or Viber or Messenger and the person can receive the message instantly and directly without having to go through anybody else?
How to introduce yourself and how to shake hands. Yeah, they're basic but not simple especially if this interaction is with someone older or a person of authority. I'm not even sure if kids now know how to shake hands. They do all that slapping or high-five thing, but an honest-to-goodness handshake, where you need a proper grip and pump, I wonder...
There's another item of interest: how to read slowly. I guess this refers to reading out loud, and not necessarily silent reading. Schools rarely teach kids to read aloud or to even read properly. (Many students, especially in my country, advance to the next grade level or graduate even with poor reading skills and comprehension).
That's why students nowadays don't know how to pause, both when reading or writing, or how to properly break up a sentence, putting proper emphasis where it is required, or heavens, how to correctly pronounce words.
So yes, I agree. Kids have to be taught to read slowly, to appreciate the written word, and to understand what they're reading whether silently or aloud.
Adjunct to that is how to write a letter. Who writes letters these days when it's so much more convenient to text, call or message someone? Why waste time penning or typing a letter when you can shoot a one-liner via text or messaging app, including "I miss you" or even "I love you."
But other than personal letters, letter writing is still an essential skill whatever your profession or career. Many employers can actually turn down applicants for lack of adequate communication skills, which includes crafting correspondences.
They are totally missing out when it comes to learning how to express themselves, or get across a message, an appeal, or a proposal by writing proper letters, using correct grammar, spelling, syntax, and context.
But with emails where a paragraph or even two sentences will suffice and is acceptable, why bother with a letter, right? Sigh...
And then there's how to see a job through completion, and how to wait and save for something.
With so many things so easily accessible nowadays, and with so many innovations in items, systems, processes to dramatically reduce production times, it's so easy to abandon a task and just say, let's call this and that and have that done by them or have them deliver what we need.
The joy in actually accomplishing a task, goal or mission is far different when you don't sweat getting it done as opposed to someone doing it for you, or ordering it ready-made.
It's the same way about waiting and saving to obtain some dream or prized object because most young people today want everything NOW. Whether it's the latest phone, gadget, trinket, game, they want it ASAP because the youth have this FOMO mentality. Like it's the end of the world if they can't keep up with whatever is new or coming out.
A lot of the things enjoyed by the young today are handed to them on a silver platter. There's just so many hacks or ways to get things done or obtain them, which doesn't necessarily require blood, sweat and tears.
I know, I'm of an altogether different generation and my ways or how I know to do things may be old-fashioned. But many of the skills that makes my generation different also makes us more appreciative of what we have and know today.
It's not to say all young people of today lack these skills. Some are fortunate to have parents who have taught them or ingrained these in them. And yes, they are better for it.
There is nothing wrong with progress and advancement. But when it comes at the expense of character development, integrity and humanity, it doesn't necessarily mean good.
And you know what two more of the old-fashioned skills they need to learn are? How to do something well even if no one is watching, and how to be kind.
Isn't it sad that kindness and integrity don't have a premium today and must be taught?