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Get up close and PERSONAL

Note: Even “words” can take a detour...changing the journey on which you were headed! READ ON. This blog started out with the intention of highlighting the positive impression that a personalized product/gift can have. But quickly took a detour...hope you enjoy and “chew on” some of the thoughts that follow even though it is not “business” related. Here it goes....

It seems these days we are all about privacy...from HIPA, to security protocols; but, are we REALLY? in this century we are faced with protecting our privacy (which in it’s most extreme form might involve crawling under a rock away from the publics eye) vs being “social”.

PRIVACY...some is good. Clearly, discretion is key. Too much privacy leads to isolation and lack of Social connection.

There it is...THAT word...SOCIAL. My, how that word has changed.

Being ”social” used to be about being nice, using your manners in public, being outgoing. Today, it is so much more than that. Being social = having a “social presence”. From Facebook to Instagram, Linked-in to various online forums. It seems that any one...not just anyone who is anyone, seems to have some sort of social presence. even my 92 year old father in law has a Facebook account. it is a

major way of communicating and re-searching people (aka reconnecting with people from our past...not to be confused with stalking or creeping on people! LOL!).

Texting, messaging, emailing, posting have taken over our primary means of communication. THEY are the new “social”.

E-vites have replaced the colorful, inviting cards that were once hand delivered or arrived via snail mail. I wonder if when the invention of the telephone stormed the world...if people thought “gee, no one sits down and talks face to face anymore” or “letter writing has become a lost art”.

With the advent of “impersonal” personal communication (text, email, etc) it is clear that many of today’s kids are lacking in personal interaction skills as well as phone skills... it blows me away when a kids friend doesn’t show up at the designated spot or time...and they simply text him/her. If I am waiting for someone/something and they’re late: I want an immediate, personal, “voice to voice” answer. I want to hear their tone...I want to hear their “ in the moment” words. I use it to deduce if they are stressed, if they are ambivalent, If they are harried, and maybe even if they are blowing me off (LOL). You just can’t deduce that information from a drafted and edited text or email.

Or how about when you call someone, and their child answers the phone. You ask if their Mom is home. The response on the other end is a mumbled, “ya”...and then awkward silence...except for their breath. I honestly do not expect to have to say, “well, may I speak to them”. I thought that was the basic premise of making a phone call. skills...where have they gone. Call me old fashioned, but when my kids first learned (and were allowed) to answer the phone, you were greeted with , “Hello...Prihoda House, this is Connor, how can I help you?” (OK, so maybe THAT was a little formal) - but they interacted...they introduced themselve, talked with you, listened to you and when they needed to come find would be asked to “Hold on one moment while I go get her“. Pretty impressive for a preschooler!!

As further example of the demise of interpersonal skills: I, as a bus driver, say goodbye to my 4K students, and quite often they do not respond in kind, despite the fact that their Mom is waiting at the bus steps. Neither child nor parent respond with any cordiality. I shudder at the lack of manners being taught these days. If I, as a mom, was at the bus meeting my kids and they did not reply to the drivers salutation, they would have promptly been reprimanded and told to return the ”good bye“ and make sure to add a warm “Thank you” to boot!!

Parents, we need not teach our kids “not to talk to strangers“. After all, even the best of friends were strangers before they met. But rather we need to teach them that a warm smile and a kind “Hello” ARE appropriate and encouraged, while telling a stranger where you live is not. Teach your kids the polite and courteous way to live IN the be part of that world.

I understand we live in a different world

today than our forefathers. I understand the need for boundaries and a modicum of privacy, but let us not let social skills and good manners slip by the wayside. Maybe the “crazyness” of the world today is fostered by the annonimoty brought about by the loss of those very same social behaviors. In years gone by, you never worried about your son playing baseball with a 40 year old man pretending to be 14- because they played together face to face. In today’s chat rooms and game sites you never REALLY know just who it is your kids are playing with, do you?

It’s not a black and white world we live shouldn’t be the case that we teach our kids “NEVER talk to strangers” (in their eyes, saying “hello, how are you” IS talking). Rather, we, as parents need to teach our kids about the “grey area”. This is hard stuff (‘black and white’, ‘yes and no‘ is SO much easier) - we need to help them learn to find the balance between good and bad, appropriate and inappropriate.

We need to get back to being “up close and personal”...strive for more face to face interaction...get back to learning to understand and interpret intonations and body language. CONNECT...not with a device, but with your being! I challenge you to getup close and personal yourself...and more importantly, to teach your kids to RESPONSIBLY do the same.

(A discussion about personalization and customization will be saved for another day-LOL)

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