Social skills must be taught to be learned

By Ted Smith - Contributing Columnist

By Ted Smith

Contributing Columnist

For those of you who possess long term memories, you can probably recall a time when social skills were considered to be just as important as all of the other learning skills our youth should be taught. As I reviewed the materials regarding social skills, I was reminded that children learn these skills by watching parents and teachers and through those mentors’ teaching and reinforcement.

This repetition embeds the skills in young minds, just as one learns multiplication tables, etc. To me, this method could be described as life learning since these lessons seldom are forgotten. Lately, I must admit there seem to be flaws in my reasoning. Take for instance, cell phone etiquette!

Recently, I participated in a meeting where at least two of the attendees sat for over an hour looking down and manipulating their cell phones. This was very disturbing to me, and then I started recalling previous situations where other people did likewise.

So, I now am asking, “When did it become socially permissible to be rude, or is this just something that has become okay to do in today’s society and is not considered to be rude at all?” Personally, I believe it to be rude! I hear people every day declaring our youth are not being taught social skills; however, I disagree. I believe most people insist their children are taught to be polite and courteous. I do have faith in our youth, but what I see is a lack of these qualities being exemplified by adults, and I question if this behavior is setting a good example for the next generation.

Now, please know none of us is perfect. We all come with faults, and when I am pointing a finger at you, three more are pointing back at me. So, when I point out things that bother me, I am certain you could find some of my faults just as glaring. But let me just throw out a suggestion, if we are to teach our youth proper etiquette, should we not practice it in our everyday lives.

Simple words like, “Hello,” “Thank You,” “You are welcome,” “Please,” “Excuse me,” just to name a few, might open doors for those who choose to use them.

Here at your Chamber, we certainly strive to use social skills. However, as I stated previously, we are human and subject to mistakes, so please forgive us if we offend, and offer us a second chance. By the way, stop and visit us here at 1209 Caldwell Street, (Community Hall) and give us the opportunity to tell you how you might get involved in your Newberry County Chamber of Commerce.

Should stopping for a visit be impossible, simply call 276-4274 and let either Liz, Michelle, or me welcome you to Newberry. Let us hear from you!

Ted Smith is executive director of the Newberry Chamber of Commerce. Contact him at

Ted Smith is executive director of the Newberry Chamber of Commerce. Contact him at