Observe any group of children for any length of time and it’s clear that today’s children are different that those of yesteryears. While technology advances have definitely provided advantages to youth of the 21st century, when it comes to homemaking, communication and playtime, some things have become a lost art.
To rediscover things of times past, consider teaching your children:
1. The art of writing thank you cards. Many children today operate with a sense of entitlement and as a result, fail to properly acknowledge and thank people for the things they contribute to them. If someone has done something kind for a child, like give a gift or taken her on a special outing, writing a thank you note is an appropriate way to say thanks.
2. The art of handwritten notes. The handwritten word is a powerful and personal communication tool. With computers and cell phones that function as mini computers, hand written notes have become a thing of the past. Encourage children to write a handwritten letter to a grandparent, pen pal or friend. They’ll be excited to receive their own mail back.
3. The art of storytelling. Long before books, people used to tell stories. Stories can be used to teach a moral principle, share an educational lesson of for pure entertainment. Passing down folklores and fairytales, or sharing stories about your family’s heritage can instill a love of storytelling in your children.
4. The art of being neighborly. Life is so busy the needs of others around us can go unnoticed. Encourage children to care for their neighbors. Bringing cookies to a new family that moves in, helping to pick up an elderly neighbors lawn or offering to take in the mail for a neighboring family that goes on vacation can help children learn the value of being neighborly.
5. The art of respecting elders. The way children talk to and treat adults and those in authority at times can be downright embarrassing. Reinforce the importance of respecting elders by modeling respect. Insisting children address adults using their proper title, hold and open doors for adults and listen to those in authority, like their teachers, can help reinforce the importance or respect. There are many older students who are rude to their teachers. In earlier times, students wouldn’t have even dreamed of being as disrespectful as some are today.
6. The art of thinking. Children need to learn how to think for themselves. Encourage them to consider information for themselves before accepting it as fact. If they think something doesn’t make sense, help them explore their thoughts and encourage deeper consideration of topics that interest them. They also must learn to be kind to others, and helpful to someone who may be hurt.
7. The art of problem solving. Helping children to see problems as challenges can help to foster a desire to problem solve. Encourage children to face challenges with confidence and brainstorm with them ways to overcome obstacles.
8. The art of sewing. Mending a button or taking up a hem is a life lesson that is worth teaching. Practice simple sewing projects and progress to other things, should the child express real interest. How many of us have to take clothes to the dry cleaners because we don’t know how to mend?
9. The art of having manners. Looking at someone in the eyes when speaking to you, saying please, thank you and excuse me when appropriate and not reaching across the table are a few lessons all children could benefit from learning.
10. The art of free play. Never have children been so overscheduled. Play is a child’s work and too often, children aren’t given an opportunity to play. Free time provides the opportunity to children to explore their world around them and create fun for themselves.
Don’t let technology rob your children of learning the lost arts and valuable lessons that have stood the test of time.While making headway in the areas of science and technology are admirable, losing footing in the areas of kindness, courtesy and conversation is not so much.
Thank you, Carol Watson, for this great article, reminding us that teaching children the things learned by generations before them still matter. Carol writes for National Nannies.