Wednesday, August 12, 2015

What We Have Here is a Problem of Communication

It appears to me that the ability to communicate deep and emotionally important issues is getting worse every year. Each generation that comes appears to have trouble speaking clearly. As I listen to young people attempt to share their thoughts and feelings they increasingly fail to articulate who, what, where, when and why they had them. Instead, their sentences have a string of nonsense "filler words" such as "like" and "you know" and "whatever".

I find this to be frustrating. They are difficult to understand, leaving us both dissatisfied. My wife Karen and I take our younger three youngest grand kids out for  "Boot Camp".  It is a day of surprises, fun and learning, because each can communicate well.

They are ages 7, 10 and 13 but can articulate, enunciate and keep filler words to a minimum, but it takes some work on our part to help them stop following in the footsteps of the culture.

First, the children are not allowed  to use any digital devices at boot camp. We spend time communicating, listening and discussing ideas.

Second, when a child or adult has the floor we all must listen without changing topics or interrupting.

Third, we give each child a small amount of money to get a gift. If they exceed that amount it must be paid back that day to teach that borrowing has consequences.

Fourth, we attempt to read a story or two aloud and discuss its meaning and why we read it.

Fifth, I try to come up with brain games and quizzes to make the kids think and discuss ideas. The terms "like, you know, whatever, etc" are not allowed.

Sixth, we give each child a sum of money every birthday that they, along wither their parents, invest in stocks. I want them to learn the value of saving and growth of money.

Seventh, we attempt to teach them how to resolve differences and arguments peacefully. It is not easy!

We want our grand kids to succeed in life, marriage and work. The ability to read, write and speak is essential to success.

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