I was recently invited to be one of the presenters at the Prevention of Youth Substance Abuse in Rural Communities at the University of South Carolina, Lancaster, SC. It was a very informative conference! I had the opportunity of listening to Milton Creagh. Milton was raised in Chicago’s South side and is best known for his hard-hitting inspirational talks to high school students. Over the years Milton has led conferences to more than 200,000 young adults.
Milton asked a very simple question, “Why are we having so much trouble with young people?” His reply to this question was extremely interesting. He has come to the conclusion that our problem is not with young people, it is with their parents that do not communicate well with their children. If you are 50 years old or older think back on life. Milton said that one of the biggest problems in communicating with children today is air conditioning. He went on to explain.
When we were kids and our moms washed cloths they had to hang them on a line outside. In fact all the ladies in the neighborhood had to hang them outside. If you lived in a neighborhood where the houses were close, hanging the cloths became a community event. It also became a resource of information. Parents kept up with another and the kids in the neighborhood. Hanging clothes according to Milton was a community resource to help one another out.
Milton also talked about how his neighborhood had one little lady who knew everything about everybody. Whether you liked it or not she was the information center of the community and she did not mind letting parents know what children were up to. Today, most people do not even know their next-door neighbors.
Communication among neighbors was key to a healthy environment. Communication is also essential for the development of productive teamwork. Healthy communication is more than Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin. It is face-to-face, personal, one on one interaction.