I have been compiling a list of advice over the past year for teens and young people, well actually for all people. I have worked with teens for over 28 years and I have seen it all. I have tried to keep up with the music, media, technology, and culture of the teens I work with so I am not out of the loop and a dork (as my son calls me—I am hoping it is a term of endearment, but most likely NOT). Now you can call me a prude, or you can say I am in the Dark Ages, but really I think this list is important for us to keep, remember, and DO. I am calling it the List of the Lost Arts…..things that have seemingly gone by the wayside over the years, by teens and adults as well.
So here goes…..let’s try to master the art of the following:
*Handwritten thank you notes, or notes of encouragement. It is so easy to send a text or an email as a thank you and for some things, that might be appropriate, but let’s teach our kids to learn how to write a handwritten note. (Analysts are looking at the fact that handwriting—cursive—may not even be taught in schools in the future). I know that teens may balk at this, but a snail mail handwritten note should never go out of style. I like to stock up on thank you cards and unique cards to have on hand for different occasions (engagement, get well, sympathy)—all good to have around since these things happen at unknown times. Yes, it may take a little extra time, and then you have to find that stamp, but I can guarantee that the recipient will love getting a card in the mail.
*RSVP: We are really getting bad at this and it is not okay. When people invite you to a party or event they put time and effort and MONEY into it. They need to shop for food and drinks and decorations. It is very frustrating for a party planner to not receive an RSVP in a timely manner (and not the night before). Here is a tip: When you get that Evite, email or invitation-- respond immediately. Go to your calendar and look it up and then mark it down. And don’t wait for something better to come up—that is just plain rude. If you want to go, GO and if you don’t, then don’t. But give the courtesy of a timely response.
*Texting as communication (appropriately): Texting is a great thing. I love it. I can send a quick note to my boys about times, locations, to do lists, etc. I can send an “I love you” or “I am praying for you” to a friend right when I am thinking of them. I can send the Costco list to my husband. But here is where we need to be appropriate about texting-- Don’t get in an argument in a text conversation. If the message chain starts getting heated, then pick up the phone! And beware of group messages—a lot of people see what you are saying, so think before you text! Never ever break up with someone via text. That is cheap and cowardly. If you need to talk about your relationship, then meet in person. Teens today are going to lose the art of a one on one convo, eye to eye contact and understanding body language.
**Snap chat, FB, Instagram, etc: Use snap chat and FB appropriately. While you may love your scantily clad body on Selfie Sunday, there are lots of others (especially young boys) who don’t need to see all that. Remember that all things that post to cyberspace are PUBLIC domain. I mean it. PUBLIC DOMAIN. Need I repeat again?
**Using phrases like… Please… and thank you –shocker, but so many teens and kids today do not use these simple and necessary phrases. It is basic etiquette 101. Drill it into your kids and your teens. They need to use these phrases with their parents, friends, teachers, coaches, other adults, oh yeah, everyone!
**Greeting people with a handshake and a “nice to meet you.” Kids as young as four should be able to do this. Kids and teens need to keep on doing this. And make the handshake firm, not wimpy.
There you have it—and I have so much more…..but let’s start with these. And maybe you have some ideas you want to share—I would love to hear them. I love teens and I love people, but we must not lose the art of common etiquette and courtesy even if we do live in a technological age. Let’s pass it on so these things are not LOST.