“Adulting 101”

Yes, seriously: “Adulting 101” is now a thing. Evidently the lack of parenting skills these days have, like stray chickens; come home to roost. Us hoary old Baby Boomers were raised by parents who taught us at an early age how to manage money, how to care for our things, how to wash our clothes, how to cook and clean, how to keep a garden, how to respect our elders, how to be mannerly, how to clean up our own messes, and so on.

When I was nine years old, my father taught me how to set up and start a camp fire and how to put it out responsibly. On the same day, he taught me how to use a jacknife without hurting myself, and how to change a tire.

Of course, I didn’t want to learn these things and I asked my dad why I had to. His answer was simple and succinct: “you need to learn how to do these things because you can’t always rely on someone else to do them for you.” Even then I got it. Oh, believe me, I didn’t like learning these skills, but I did see his point. As an adult, I am gratefulfor those lessons.

In my own unasked-for opinion, I don’t think that, as a rule, true parenting is happening anymore. It is bothersome to see that we seem to have developed an “everybody wins” environment for kids. That just isn’t reality, and the world will not treat these kids kindly if they are not prepared for living on their own.

When schools dropped Home Economics and Shop, it was a real shame. Home Ec, as we called it, taught us how to budget, how to cook, how to sew, how to bake and even make jam from scratch. The boys took Shop, and often found that they actually were good at it. For those boys who hadn’t really been good at anything prior to that, it was a big boost to their egos. Often boys who took Shop decided to go into the trades. These two classes used to be standards. I think that kids are missing out because schools don’t have these classes any longer.

Does anyone remember the movie “*To Sir With Love?” In it, Mark Thackeray (Sidney Poitier) quickly realized that the kids in his classroom needed far more than the standard class work. They needed “life skills” training as well. So in addition to his regular classes, he taught his students how to cook, manage money, write checks, etc.

Life skills are what get us through life. As a young girl, I absolutely hated the chores that my mother gave me, especially vacuuming (and to this day, I despise it still). There were many times that I had to vacuum the house twice or three times because it didn’t pass Mom’s approval. I soon learned to do it right the first time.

When I got my first paying job at 15 years old, Mom showed me how to count change. Of course, I griped about learning that, too. But as Mom said, I had to learn to do it because my boss would expect me to know how to do it.

If we don’t teach kids how to get by in the world, we are setting them up for failure. Just my two cents on the subject.

*”American Mark Thackeray (Sidney Poitier) recently received his degree in engineering, but cannot find work. To make ends meet, he takes a job as a teacher in a rough London East End school populated mostly with troublemakers who were rejected from other schools for their behavior. While the students at first see Thackeray as just another teacher open for ridicule and bullying, his calm demeanor and desire to see them succeed gradually earn him their respect.”

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