Continued from last week

Once Upon a Time…

Not so long ago, families and lives were very different from those of today. Before radio, television, movies, computers, telephones (let alone cellphones) and the endless variety of shallow magazines available today, people had much more time for other things. They usually learned more boardgames, played cards, enjoyed nature and talked more around the dinner table, usually for long periods.

For the educated, there was once a strong emphasis on doing a tremendous amount of reading, particularly of longer books. This greatly enhanced people’s ability to converse across a wide range of diverse ideas and thought. People were familiar with famous authors, philosophy, world history, geography, current events and world conditions, great leaders, and so much more—and their discussions reflected depth.

Remember, for the first approximately 5,900 years of man’s existence on earth, none of the modern tools of communication and entertainment existed. This means that the only lifestyle today’s young people know only began to develop just a little over 100 years ago. It means that people have almost no idea—no concept—of how the vast majority of humanity lived—and talked—for almost six millennia.

Tragically, and partially as a result of this overall lifestyle change, an even worse condition afflicts young people of the modern age. Many have grown up not even having been taught to think, let alone talk, about anything of depth. Obviously, this is because most people no longer read very much, including any of the important parts of a newspaper—let alone books or even news magazines. As a result, conversations too often quickly turn to a kind of shallow “he said, she said” gossip session, with an emphasis on updating each other about what other people may or may not be doing.

So much conversation today offers little more edifying information than would a soap opera or sitcom. All of this is not by accident. As we have previously discussed, most people today seem to live their lives as though they are scripted from soap operas—hopelessly trapped within the trivial and the superficial. The reservoir of knowledge and experience from which they should be able to draw is either nearly empty, or does not even exist.

A wise man once said, “Big minds talk about ideas, average minds talk about things, and little minds talk about people.” Which of these describes you? If you are in either of the latter two categories, determine to change this—and be prepared to spend some time learning to do so!

Plan Your Dates

Dating should be an enjoyable activity for all involved. Of course, an important goal in every date is to have a good time. But (and this may be surprising) if you are truly dedicated to providing a nice time for others present—and this takes planning—you may actually benefit the most!

Do not neglect to plan your dates. This takes some effort, but it is important that you take time to do this. Not only will you be glad you did, you will not find yourself falling into what so many practice today: When the date arrives, instead of taking the lead as he should, the man asks, “What should we do?” While the man could at least occasionally solicit the woman in advance for ideas—for things she may enjoy—something specific should always be pre- planned.

Think of ideas and generate plans that will be enjoyable for everyone—going for a hike, playing some kind of sport (bowling, tennis, swimming, skiing, sledding, etc.), touring a museum or historical site, taking a walk, visiting the zoo, going to dinner, and many other interesting and uplifting possibilities. Again, remember to not just fall into going to the latest movie, in part because most movies today virtually assault the senses—and have no real worth or value.

Try to make your dates educational as well. Of course, this does not mean that you need to do something like studying archeology at a museum on every date. But you should try to help others learn while also striving to increase your fund of knowledge whenever you have the chance. You will also learn much more about your date.