Learning skills and forging new social relationships

November 29, 2011 § Leave a comment

I see so many online dating websites advertised. Why is it becoming acceptable to meet romantic partners online, but not friends?

How about activity partners? I know that people have joined knitting clubs online and then met up in real life, and the protests and riots used online networking to organise themselves. You can find travel partners online too.

There was a poster in uni recently about two english girls wanting to learn spanish from someone else, and in return they would help the spanish person learn english. I like this idea of a skill exchange. No money has to be involved, and it’s a mutually beneficial exchange – with an added social element.

The two things that keep coming up in my theory research are relationships (not just romantic) and skills. Growing by learning and using a skill, by being challenged, is satisfying. Relationships make us happy because we are social beings by nature. These are two things in life that people accept require effort. We know we can’t suddenly be best friends with someone, and we know it takes a while to master a skill.

Language is one skill that can be exchanged. What are others?

I’m interested in what older people can teach younger generations. The last first world war veteran died recently – a part of our history has now become less accessible than before. Maybe we’d be wiser people if we could find out what older people know. What are their values? This is not something that can be learned directly by asking them. We can spend time with people and come to understand their values that way. Something else should be the focus, and teaching a skill might be a good way in.

My grandma in law is a jewellery maker who has developed her own unique process that will be lost completely when she dies. Loss of skill is an issue in this country. Once the craftsmen have all died, the craft dies, and it is impossible to recreate it in the same way. Thomas Thwaites tried to use old processes to make steel from iron ore, but old equipment was no longer available to use, and nobody could teach him how to do it. Books are not as good to learn from as people.

Are there enough people of older generations that want to pass down their knowledge?
Are there enough younger people, or adults who could teach other people, who want to learn?
Do the older people with something to teach want to learn something else, perhaps to do with technology?
Can the people who want to learn also teach?
Would these people form friendships? Would they be respectful and distant? Is that positive?
How could money come into it, or should it be avoided? Perhaps membership cost to the scheme?

I like this idea because it has elements that would make people satisfied in theory.
Relationships
Meaning – people can leave a legacy, and the younger ones have the purpose to continue the legacy
effort and reward
Learning and using a skill

Also this idea ties in with my sadness of loss of knowledge from older people, and ties in with my adopt-a-grandma project too.

Funny thing is, I don’t seem to have many relationships with older people so I don’t know if these ideas will actually work. Perhaps there is a point in a person’s life where they lose the energy to teach and lose interest in new friends.

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