…kids sprawled out on the floor or couch, their facial expressions blank; attempts to engage them are met with only vague recognition that a conversation is taking place. Even their physical bearing seems to have been altered during these times—normally alert and engaged, they now seem tired, listless, enervated. —Senator Ben Sasse on the effects of technology and video games on youngsters.
The Week recently posted an article by Eric Barker, the well-known blogger ("Barking Up The Wrong Tree"). The title: Seven ways to be the most interesting person in the room. Now, "interesting" need not imply narcissism or snobbery. It simply helps people avoid being a bore, which apart from anything else is an essential ingredient in the stew we call good manners. And, of course, it includes the imperative to be interested in others, as well. Eric concludes his piece:
And most importantly: Live an interesting life.
Remember the theme of Don Quixote: If you want to be a knight, act like a knight. If you don't read, watch, and think about generic things, generic things are less likely to come out of your mouth. This doesn't need to be expensive or difficult. Hang out more often with the most interesting people you know. The friends you spend time with dramatically affect your behavior — whether you like it or not. The Longevity Project, which studied over 1000 people from youth to death had this to say: The groups you associate with often determine the type of person you become. In The Start-up of You, Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha talk about how the best way to improve particular qualities in yourself is to spend time with people who are already like that. The best and most reliable way to appear interesting is to live an interesting life. [Emphasis ours] And to pursue that ends up being far more rewarding than merely making a good impression on others. [Though being somewhat impressive can give a major boost to your self-image and confidence.]
Hmmm. Sometime in your late teens sounds like a good time to start embarking on great adventures in interesting places with interesting people—adventures that will shape your character for the rest of your life.
In mid-January (2017), The Telegraph, a daily newspaper in the UK, ran an article under the headline "Half of young people have so many 'emotional problems' they cannot focus at school, study finds".
The following is an excerpt:
Professor Louise Arseneault, ESRC Mental Health Leadership Fellow at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King’s College London, said: "Given the profound uncertainty surrounding recent political events and the fact that young people face the worst job prospects in decades, it's not surprising to read that one in four young people aged 16 to 25 don’t feel in control of their lives.
Professor Arseneault continued: “Although it’s obviously alarming that these concerns play on young minds, it’s encouraging to see that young people have an interest in actively shaping their own future.”
Of those who do not feel they are in control of their lives, 61 per cent said they felt this was because they lack self-confidence [emphasis ours], and that this holds them back.
Sixty-one percent? Wow!
This blog is full of other posts, including links to news articles, that help identify the challenges of growing up in the modern world. Just scroll down. If you're looking for tried-and-true solutions, you have our coordinates.
In January 2017, Business Insider published the results of a parents' poll. They asked a group [size undisclosed] of adults with children of various ages "to weigh in on the financial side of having kids" and specifically, to list the parenting splurges they thought were well worth the money.
Sixteen expenses came out on top; among them: "summer camp," "educational resources," and "studying abroad."
You can read the article here.