Mark My Words – Talk to your children!

Are we losing our ability to have conversations?

Is the art of conversation becoming a lost art, in itself?

It is hard to imagine that something as simple as having a conversation could become a thing of the past, but sadly, it feels that way, especially when you are talking to the younger generation.

In a discussion with some colleagues a few months ago, we talked about how difficult it is to get our students to have a conversation with us. Now, don’t get me wrong, kids love to talk!

However, a simple “hello” or “good morning” is all too often met with a blank stare or no response…of any kind, not even a smile. It is almost like they don’t know how to respond or perhaps we are speaking a language that they fail to understand. The same can be said when it comes to saying “thank you” or “your welcome”.

For me, it was almost demanded that I respond in kind to anyone who speaks to me. And if I didn’t say “thank you” I might as well consider myself grounded! Okay, things weren’t that rough for me, but I can tell you, that my parents and grandparents didn’t pat me on the head and a smile IF I said it, it was expected THAT I say it!

Those words are not as common today. Now, I am not talking about every child, mind you. I know there are plenty of well-mannered children, and yes, even adults, out there! However, it seems that being polite or responding in kind is losing that “loving feeling”. And that, my friends, is a tragedy.

We keep hearing that we are becoming an “entitlement” society. There are those who feel that they should be entitled to this or that or that they deserve it based on their own views of the world we live in. They feel everything should be handed to them and when they get it, why do they need to say “thank you” as it should have been theirs to begin with.

Are their people who believe that? Yes. But I do not think that represents the majority of people. But it is something to take note of.

I believe the real issue begins at home. In talking with children all day long, as I do, you get a sense of what is going on or not going on at home.

It seems that the simple conversations that we grew up with as children, such as “how was your day” and “what did you learn at school today” do not happen as much anymore. How many times have we heard parents say that they had “no idea” that their child was feeling sad, depressed, and lonely or upset, only to find out that there was no real conversations taking place at home? How in the world do you know what is going on with your own child if you are not talking to them?

If a child is growing up in a home where conversations are not taking place, how do we expect them to know how to do it? Furthermore, there is nothing wrong with teaching today’s youth to be appreciative of what others do or say to them.

Times have changed, of course. We are all busier now. We are running here and there. Dinner no longer happens as a family at the table, but in the drive-thru lane or back seat of the car on the way to another event. Some parents are working two or three jobs just to get by and if you are in a single parent household, you don’t have time for much else, other than work and sleep.

I am guilty of the lack of communication in my house as well, but it is something I work on every day to ensure my children know I am there and I am ready to listen AND talk to them about anything that is on their mind, even if that means talking about One Direction or cartoons. Children need to know we care about what they think and they want their voice heard.

We, as adults, need to be better about making sure we hear and respond to them. And while we have their attention, remind them of the simple words like please, hello, good morning, and thank you, among others.

Kids say the darndest things…..if you talk to them!

Submitted by Mark McGlothlen

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