Whatever happened to teaching people in school – be it high school or college – some basic life skills.
In high school, there are all the mandated tests and all that, and I get that. Sometimes, certain things can slip through the cracks.
But the basics … they need to happen, right?
Maybe it’s the difference between an education in cities and the rural world? I’m not honestly sure. Maybe it’s the age of technology. It could be a number of things, to be honest.
The reality is not everything is done via the Internet.
Let’s go back a year or so when I was at the local post office, I had a college kid – likely a freshman – asked me how to address an envelope.
He had no idea where to put addresses.
I did what I was asked, but it blew my mind. Had this youngster never seen or received a piece of mail?
Turns out this isn’t an isolated incident, at least in my area. On Tuesday, after work, I headed to the post office. I needed to mail out one thing and check my PO Box. The line was a tad longer than normal on this day and it seemed to be quite slow.
And it kept getting longer, so I was happy to be at the front.
This is where I realized people aren’t being taught things at a younger age, whether it be in school or by parents/friends etc. One youngster was addressing a box. It’s obvious he had come to the post office with just what he needed to send as the box wasn’t ready etc. He was working on it and looked a little confused, but kept looking at his phone.
There were a couple people in line who had some similar issues.
Two were at the counter when I got in line and they were going over every aspect of mailing things out – getting extra tape, trying to understand how it happens etc. The next people were some college kids who obviously got a note to come retrieve their mail. Seems they hadn’t put names on their mailboxes at their apartment so the postal worker had no idea where to put things. They had to go through each person to say who was and who wasn’t living at this place. They were instructed how to make sure they get their mail from now on.
Then our friend came back up to the window (and that’s fair – he had been there and showed common courtesy by getting out of line to make sure his items were ready), and the lady at the window was going through everything – including that there’s tracking and $50 insurance on the package.
This youngster thought it cost $50 to mail it.
She explained, no, it’s $12.50 (give or take) but it comes with $50 insurance. She explained it at least three times and I don’t think he understood it. She also gave him step-by-step on how to use the tracking number.
Meanwhile, behind me, the line continued to grow. I felt bad as it was approaching 5 p.m. when the post office closed and there was no way she was going to be out in time. The three mentioned above took a combined 20 minutes to deal with.
That’s why these things need to be taught at some point. Whether it’s a “life skills” class that lasts like four weeks in high school or it’s part of a “freshman orientation” class at a college, these are things that need to be addressed.
Not everything can be done via the Internet.
People need to know how to address an envelope/box or pack it up to ship something. Being able to use basic life things – a post office as an example – is important. How about insurance? Or ordering off of a menu at a place that isn’t fast food or a pizza joint? We know many of the younger generation (I can’t believe I just said that) can’t read maps (and I used a GPS, too, but I can and do still use maps on occasion) as they rely so much on electronics.
As I waited in line, I was talking to a few people. We noted that many of these kids don’t know life without the Internet. It’s all they’ve known. A pay phone? What’s that? What do you mean you had to look up a book in the library … Dewey what?
It’s a shame, too.
That’s why some of these basic skills should be taught outside the home – to make sure they are actually being taught.
It’s a crazy world we live in now. I’m glad I grew up when I did so I got to experience both sides of the coin. I can write a letter, mail it, and look forward to a response without it being e-mail only.
When I was an adjunct instructor at the local college, one of the writing assignments I did was Postcrossing. This forced the students to understand how to address a postcard, send it, and get responses. It didn’t work out perfectly, but many really embraced it.
I also realize that in a city, mailing things wasn’t always needed. You could see the person quicker. But once you get out of your smaller area, sometimes you have to mail things. And tapping away on the phone won’t necessarily help you, if you don’t know what you should Google to find out.
In the meantime, I’ll continue to mail things as needed – and I’ll be happy knowing it was taught to me at a young age and that it’s stuck with me throughout my life.
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