Our world has gone digital, but there are so many analog life skills that our kids still NEED!
It’s no secret that life has changed in the past 25 years. When I was in high school, we didn’t have internet either at home or at school. No one owned a cell phone, except for wealthy business types who had a big brick “car phone.” If you wanted to communicate with someone, you either made a phone call or wrote a letter. Long distance calls were made sparingly, as they quickly racked up extra charges. What a contrast from today’s connected world!
I do love technology. Social media has its downsides (and some of them are BIG), but overall it’s awesome to be able to text, send photos, and keep in touch with people via Facebook. However, at times I fear for how the digital world will affect our kids, who have never known anything different. Digital media by its nature can lead to self-centered interaction and LESS social skills, rather than more.
My husband and I were talking the other day about simple, old-fashioned skills that kids need to know. We may not need to send letters anymore in order to communicate, but you sure can’t save a meaningful text the way you can a card or a letter! Do kids today know how to write a letter? Or a quality thank you note? Kids may be able to chat with friends all over the country via texting or social media, but do they know how to be a friend to the elderly lady next door? Do they know how to take a message if someone calls and they need to answer mom or dad’s phone?
As I was compiling this list of skills, it reminded me how much I need to continue investing in the lives of my kids and teaching and modeling life skills that are vital for their lives. I also need to make it a priority to facilitate interactions for them with people of all ages. I fear that our culture is losing its respect for older adults. We tend to mock old age and consider older people “outdated” and “irrelevant” rather than benefitting from the years of wisdom and maturity that the elderly in our community have to offer.
Simple tips for teaching practical knowledge and social skills:
You can print the list of 40 old-fashioned skills below. I won’t repeat all the items on the list here, but I want to share some tips for incorporating these skills into everyday life.
Oh, and do note that neither this list of old-fashioned skills nor the tips are not meant to be exhaustive, and it’s not realistic that everyone will be able to do everything on it. It’s just meant to get you thinking!
- Host a dessert night and invite a few neighbor families over to visit and eat treats.
- Visit a nursing home – plan to hand out flowers, children’s artwork, or cards. Or maybe sing songs or play games with the residents.
- Get some neighborhood kids together for a Saturday morning shop class. Maybe some dads can take turns teaching car maintenance skills.
- Establish one night a week as “the kids cook dinner” night!
- Try planting a raised bed garden this spring. It’s really not difficult, and it’s so fun to watch the progress. We like to grow cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, green beans, and bell peppers.
- Make time in your family’s schedule for everyone to help with chores. It will be normal for the kids to be resistant at first, especially if they haven’t done chores before. Persist. Aim to make it a pleasant working time (i.e. have a good attitude yourself), and don’t give up!
- Host a breakfast for moms and sons, and make the boys dress nicely and use good manners!
- Set an example of working through disputes with neighbors, rather than complaining behind their backs.
- Help kids set a savings goal and give them jobs around the house instead of handing them cash for the toy they want.
- Offer to babysit for a friend or neighbor. Include your kids in caring for the children. Let them fix a snack, read a book, etc.
Ready to print your list of 40 Old-Fashioned Skills? Click the link below. The file will open, and you can either save it or print from there. Please do not distribute this file or post it on social media.
CLICK HERE: 40 Old-Fashioned Skill Printable Poster