Readers cite manners, civility and reasonable debate as ‘lost skills’ – Nanaimo News Bulletin

What’s a lost skill that no one seems to remember anymore?

A question posed to our readers on Facebook elicited hundreds of responses, ranging from amusing to thought-provoking – with an intriguing theme a constant throughout.

Amid an often relentless cycle of less than cheerful news, we like to have a little fun sometimes through our social media. Ask questions like “what’s the best freezie color?” and lighten the mood.

Last week, we posed the “skills lost” question.

A sample of answers:

Retailers give you your change. Cursive writing. Handwritten letters and sending by post. Walk to school or sporting events. Have fun instead of having to use technology for entertainment. Pyramid construction.

Marbles. Use of a telephone directory. Pouring a beer without giant foam. Manufacture of wagon wheels. Opening a bottle of beer with a lighter. Spelling. Driving a gear stick. Sewing. Cooking and storing food. Editing. Hunt down a mammoth. Manual picking of fruits and vegetables.

Fit bunny ears on a TV so it always has a good picture when you let them go. Make a good paper airplane.

A bit more:

Simple math. Using a darkroom to develop film. Polishing; whether floors, shoes or brass. Embroidery. Knitting. Kitchen. Pastry shop. Talk to people face to face rather than just texting. Rewind a tape with a pencil. Navigation with map, compass and pace. Sending thank you notes. Remember phone numbers. How to read the time (analog versus digital). Jump the solenoid to start your car. Using a rotary phone. Forge. Shorthand. Fart the alphabet.

And much more. An interesting list, although I can’t say I’ve ever tried to learn that last skill. It’s too late?

But most of the answers about what’s missing went along these lines:

Civility. Good manners. Work ethic and reliability. Truth. Respect. Courtesy. Common sense. Critical mind. manners. Be polite and kind. Honesty. Respectful discussion. Chivalry. Empathy. Ethics. Reliability. Altruism. Be nice to each other. Common decency for other beings.

So many posts to that effect. So much.

It definitely got me thinking.

I spend too much time on the internet (I tell myself it’s because of work) and it can be a real cesspool.

There is a lack of respect, a loss of civility, an absence of critical thinking.

There is so much polarization, refusal to engage in respectful debate. Confirmation bias is king and people won’t budge from their positions.

Politicians happily pander to specific groups, rather than aiming to represent an entire electorate.

Worse still, those who have different points of view from you are often now seen as enemies. “Owning” other people online is something to celebrate.

I have friends and acquaintances of all political persuasions. Vaccinated and unvaccinated. Even Leafs fans.

We may disagree on some points, but still be bound by the things that made us friends in the first place. At the very least, civility remains.

Is it so wrong to have opposing points of view?

And aside from online and a few rambling phone calls, I rarely meet anyone who isn’t polite or respectful in public.

Having said that, of course I see what is happening elsewhere in the world.

This willingness to say rude things on the internet continues to seep more and more into “real life” as people grow bolder in the knowledge that they are more supported than ever.

Previously, if you had what could be widely considered an “extreme” view, it might have been difficult to find a large following of like-minded people. Now you are one click away from finding thousands.

Are the loudest among us now getting more attention than before? Or are we really going down a slippery slope?

What can be done? Should something be done?

Is “be kind and respectful to one another” a credo that the overwhelming majority of us still live by, or an outdated notion that will be increasingly difficult to reinforce in the future?

For me, it’s always the first.

Lots to think about. Maybe we all need to take a break and have some fun with the alphabet.

As we on Facebook and follow we on Twitter

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