Are these skills we used to value now obsolete or are they still important? 118



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The world is changing: it’s no secret. We are more than aware that society is a lot different to how it was when we were growing up. The main change is technology and how we communicate with each other, but could it have an overflow effect where the technological era has tainted every area of life today?

Yes, we need our computers and they truly make the world a more efficient place, but what happened to that world where those valuable skills we had were important, or aren’t they anymore? I’m talking about these particular things:

Writing letters

This is an obvious one but we used to write letters all the time and prided ourselves on our handwriting and the lean of our cursive. We would perfect the letters and we would lick the stamp and everything about it was wonderful. It feels like a waste that this skill is now lost on our grandchildren, as they may never know the joy of receiving a letter, let alone a bill, as letters move online more and more. But is it really a loss? Are we just hanging on to nostalgia here or is letter writing something our grandchildren could do without?


The art of conversation is something us baby boomers got very used to – we didn’t have phones to distract us. But now it feels as if this is lost. Have a chat with a millennial and their spectrum of interesting topics is quite limited. They want to know what the latest celebrity is doing, or what their friends are eating and are less interested in the important things. Yes, kids can be kids, but even those in their 20s can struggle to hold a conversation and don’t know what to say when the focus is not on themselves. It’s sad that we baby boomers have such a wealth of knowledge yet they are not interested in hearing about it – so should we try to breed interest in them, or is it okay for ignorance to be bliss?

General knowledge

Following on from conversation, I see a real lack of general knowledge in the younger generations. I would love speaking with my parents at dinner about all sorts of things going on in the world, and felt very mature having discussions about poverty, homelessness and politics, among a myriad of things. Now, there is a distinct lack of interest even from parents, who don’t read the news or even know who our Prime Minister is. There is such a gap in how much information some are willing to take in, and when this world is so much bigger than the little pocket we live in, it seems very sad to just ignore the world around us. Do you agree?


I dread to think about this but the skill of driving seems lost on some. Yes, a driver’s licence was easier to get when we were growing up, but we could actually drive. Now you see hoons in their hotted-up cars, racing down the main drag. They have little care for themselves or others and it’s making the streets a scary place to be. And now with these cars that do so much for you, it’s as if you can just be on auto pilot as you drive. So many distractions – it feels like an accident waiting to happen. Driving used to be something you did, knowing full well you were driving a weapon. Now we see teenagers getting behind the wheel and think that they are invisible. So what can we do as grandparents?

Cooking (and sitting down for a meal)

Fast food has become a close friend of the world’s youth, with so many now deciding to buy food on the run instead of cooking and sitting down for a meal. Sitting down for dinner was the great Australian tradition but has since been replaced with sitting on a couch with a plate or burger packet in hand, with no table manners in sight. A mobile phone is also a dinner fixture now, and back in the day we weren’t able to speak with our mouths open, let alone leave the table without excusing ourselves. Now, we have children who cannot feed or cook for themselves properly, but is that how it should be? I know that I try my best to instil these values in my grandchildren, but are they still relevant today?


Doing chores were a great way of disciplining children. They could work hard for their pocket money and then buy what they liked. Fast forward to today and children ask and they receive. If they want an iPad, their parents go and buy them one, as a placating measure. Is it lazy parenting? Chores always helped take pressure off mum and dad however it is a different story now and children run rampant, thinking they are entitled to everything and never doing anything for themselves. They then go on to become adults who fail to function in society. So do you think chores have a place in today’s society?

What do you think? Are these life skills better left in the past or do they still have their place today? Tell us below.

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. I think we must accept the status quo or drive ourselves (and them) insane. I think every generation since Adam was a pup has looked back with nostalgia and criticised the next generation.

  2. Definitely just as important! Maybe more so today because everyone always seems to be in such a hurry these days!

  3. Manners and life skills are very important from all of us, young and old.
    It’s only the minority that don’t possess them.

  4. No – the world has not changed – only the people in it – one has to keep abreast of new devolpments – we still need to know what to do when the power fails or if your boat starts to sink – believe me I am an old Seaman – try living on an Island bec ause that’s what a ship is, we still need to know the basics because they are the building blocks of technology.

    2 REPLY
    • Bob I agree with you totally on this.Technology fails at the worst times eg natural or man made disaster,s so we still need to teach the basics.

    • Mike here-I was a semen a long while back, then tht semen met an egg & fell in love, nine months later, I was born.

      1 REPLY
  5. When I was growing up when we sat down to tea that was when everyone caught up on their daily activities No TV was on – not like at my grand children’s place when as soon as we sat down TV was turned I making conversation impossible At their place TV is on from the moment they are up in the morning til they go to bed at night & half the time no one is watching Different times!!!!

    7 REPLY
    • Meal time was a nightmare when I was growing up . No talking , elbows in or a crack across the knuckles with the knife handle . Overcooked veggies and had to eat everything before you left the table . Sometimes I was still sitting there at 10 pm . Sometimes I was sick and still had to come back to the table and try to eat cold food . Never had dessert my whole childhood .

    • So sorry for your rotten experience Pamela…hope that now you give your inner child a hug and cuddle every day, chat voraciously with her, and give her as much dessert as she wants

    • Me too Pamela. There was no allowance for disliking something. My problem is that now I would live on dessert if I could and it shows

    • I was also made to sit at the table till I ate my veggies and even now I still don’t eat those same veggies.

    • Was the same when I was a kid,but what I didn’t like I ate first so I could enjoy the rest,as I would have had to sit there until I ate it,I hated cauliflower hated it,now I love it!

  6. Yes it is important. But won’t happen…doesn’t happen… What we valued isn’t what is valued today… Electronics brain washing everyone addictive too.. Just look at us … Face booking ….

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