Developing couth comes from life experience, it is learned. Young adults have to have an appetite for learning, and at times this day and age, is a difficult appetite to develop. Patience and time are key requirements to learning, which many young adults struggle with because they can be largely impatient. Learning from and creating experiences over time is a powerful teacher for young adults to understand better.
In re-examining the definition of couth: to be cultured, refined, and well mannered it is important to understand the HOW to be cultured, HOW to be refined, HOW to be well mannered. How many young adults really hold the space of this definition?
Becoming cultured happens in various ways. Increasing education and training helps to expand one’s knowledge base, opens the mind to more possibilities and more opportunities. Furthering one’s education or professional trade training is a key piece for young adults to think about. Taking an interest in politics and understanding the framework of what our nation has been built on is often missing knowledge in the young adult population. We live here in the United States of America, and we take full advantage of the freedoms and privileges that come with being American. We all as Americans then need to understand the rich deep stories and experiences that have forged this nation, and the different dynamics that make up our government. Understanding the fabric and framework of what makes America amazing should not be lost on any American young or old. Young adults need to know and talk about this well.
Watching the news and different various educational/news programs is another way to expand the mind and become cultured. Engaging in understanding local and world events creates awareness and a bigger picture that helps one look outside of themselves. It creates a macro view rather than a self-centered microscopic viewpoint. Every young adult ought to figure out how to at some point, see the world as bigger than what is immediately around themselves. This is a key part of maturing and enriching one’s character.
Developing refinement is more finite and I think hones in developing particular tastes, and having knowledge as well as being able to speak about these different things. For example going to the ballet, listening to classical music, knowing which wine goes with what are some examples of how to create refinement. Some broader examples that fit with more different types of people would be owning a library card and using it regularly, broadening one’s musical horizons, write/journal often, watch all different kinds of films, and understanding art better is a short list of some ways to become more refined.
Notice as we explore the quick snapshot of what it means to be cultured and refined how it speaks to creating and having experiences. Life is our greatest teacher and engaging in it, in multiple different ways is the biggest piece to young adult character development and gaining consistent maturity.
The last piece to developing couth I believe is the most important and the hardest one to consistently find in the young adult population of this generation. Becoming well mannered begins with the framework of respect. Respecting others, their opinions, being open to feedback and discussions, rather than be reactive or avoidant creates a solid framework for a well-mannered individual. Using polite words often like please or thank you seems simple, but create long ripples to having healthy relationships. Modeling manners and using the names of people you are engaging with. Small examples like holding the door open for people and speaking politely without using swear words as fillers is a huge piece in having a strong verbal well mannered presentation.
In closing, developing couth is an essential part of young adulthood and young adults need to tune in and engage in learning it. The 20’s are such pivotal years where young adult are really figuring themselves out more on their own. Becoming well mannered, refined, and cultured helps broaden one’s personality and ability to navigate the world as an independent young adult much better.
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