Handwritten Letters and Life Skills: Keeping Simplicity Alive for Future Generations

Photo by Green Chameleon

Since the COVID-19 health crisis began, and the associated shelter-in-place order was established here locally, I’ve been receiving handwritten letters from my niece and nephew.

When my sister told me that the twins were tasked with creating and sending out handwritten letters, I thought, oh joy! What a great way for two 10 year olds to spend parts of their day. With all the current technological distractions, these letters seemed like such a great idea, a break for them, and ultimately, a gift for me.

At the time, what I didn’t consider was how much I would enjoy receiving and reading them. Nor could I have imagined how much fun it would turn out to be to write them back.

I am old enough to have lived during a time when in-home computers were just gaining traction. At that time, handwritten (or typed) letters, like landline phones, were a part of people’s everyday experience. Not the case today.

It got me thinking about life skills, and how important it is for children and youth to have the opportunity to develop skills, even when, maybe especially when, these skills are not as sought after today. It is important for many reasons, one of which is the necessity to keep these skills alive for future generations. Why?

Because there is an elegance to the written word, like there is in understanding how to balance a checkbook, or creating a meal that doesn’t include “food” from a box. And, it is our job to teach children and youth these skills.

There are a myriad of these life skills that, due to technological advancements, are not as utilized today. In fact, some are out right not taught in schools, or in homes across the country. Why?

Some of the lack of education in life skills has to do with the way K-12 education functions today. Some of it has to do with the fact that people are busy, and don’t always spend the time necessary with their children teaching them these skills, especially as they enter their teenage years. Or, they think they’ll pick them up along the way.

As a parent, I have also fallen into the trap of being busy and assuming that the kids would pick up this or that skill along the way. Yet, what I have learned is that they will not always pick them up. We must teach them these skills.

Though the life skills referred to in this post are quite simple, we make them seem complex, as today there is an easier way to get to the outcome, or result. For instance, it is much easier to look up a word on an online thesaurus, or dictionary website, than it is to use an actual thesaurus or dictionary. Do we assume then that children and youth will simply know how to find, let alone utilize a thesaurus and or dictionary? We should assume not.

We often make the simple complex. It is a pattern most humans have, and one that I’ve referenced in several other posts. It is often harder to find the simpler path, yet strive for it we should. Because we can make something complex, does not mean it should be complex. In fact, it really means that it should be simple.

If making things simpler is something we should strive for, then teaching children and youth basic life skills, which are not as in fashion today should be a goal of every parent and or caretaker. Why?

Because if we don’t teach them these skills, who else will?

#generations, #life-skills, #psychology, #self-development, #simplicity, #sociology, #youth-development

COVID-19, Youth Development, and Creativity

This past week, I’ve been reflecting upon the COVID-19 health crisis in regard to youth development. I’ve been thinking about the online schooling all kids are now doing, and thinking about how that is a fit for some, and yet not for all. Regardless, it is so important that youth have access to their education during this health crisis. Knowledge acquisition is part and parcel to creativity. New knowledge equates to the generation of new ideas and possibilities.

Youth also need the space to do other things. Space to step away from the computer screen, and get in touch with other aspects of their being. However, that is difficult if the brain, and body for that matter, are constantly stimulated.

For instance, today I had this wonderful insight about a blog topic for today, yet due to a busier day than normal, that insight went away. Now, I know it will be back, and spend time purposefully away from sensual stimulation to create space for those types of insights to return.

Youth need downtime. Time they can use to get in touch with their creative self, and just be, free from the constraints of constant stimulation. It does not have to be hours each day. To start, it can be 10 or 20 minutes a day. Taking a walk around the block, sitting outside in the sun, and doing yard work, or gardening are just a few ideas.

Anything, while adhering to local social distancing policies, to create space so they can be with their ideas, and think about themselves in different ways, not always connected to someone or something.

If you are interested in youth development, take a look at this site, which my son and I created this past year.

Until next time…

#covid-19, #creativity, #knowledge, #school, #youth-development