Well, what a shocker; the new thing these days is “adulting classes.” Look, I understand that the world is changing, and that schooling and parenting are far different than what I grew up with. Looking back on my own growing up, it was pretty cut and dried:
- Your parents were the bosses and you obeyed. Period.
- Your allowance was earned; the lesson was that you worked for what you wanted by doing chores.
- In school, there was Home Economics for the girls, and shop for the boys. As girls, we learned how to make simple dinners, make homemade jam, how to stick to a budget, how to sew and basically how to run a household. In shop, boys learned to make tables and stools and lots of other practical things. They also learned how to properly use tools and machinery.
- Family business was just that; you didn’t tell anyone how much money your dad made or whether or not your mother was beautiful.
- If we did something wrong in school and got punished for it, you could bet your life that your parents found out about it, and you got punished again.
- You were never to leave the house without telling your parents.
- If you had a pet that you had begged for, it was your responsibility to care for it.
- If you yearned for a toy or something you really wanted, you worked for it. When you had the money you needed to get it, you treasured it and took good care of it. You experienced what it was like to buy what you wanted with the money that you yourself had earned.
- You learned (often the hard way) how to get along with others, and how not be a show-off or a liar. Again, we learned this from our parents.
Of course, there was more, but these are the “regular” things we of the ’50s generation grew up with. When we were old enough to work (to have our own money), we were taught at home first. We learned how to make change, how to be polite to a customer, and most of all, how to do what your boss told you to do.
Now, I never had children, so I probably should shut up about this right now, but here’s the thing: we of our generation were taught what we needed to know mainly from our parents. By the time I went to college, I had learned how to work with people, how to deal with roomates (as I was an only child it was sort of a shock to have a roomate at college, but you adapt) and how get the most out of my classes, and so much more.
It absolutely boggles my mind that parents (for the most part) are just not teaching their children how to work and behave in the world. I nearly fell off my chair one day when I read that a twenty-one year old woman had been fired from her job because she just wasn’t working. Get this: the twenty-one year old had her parents call her boss to get her job back. Color me gobstruck. I wonder how well that went over with the boss…
“What Are Adulting Classes?
You may snicker at millennials’ need for such classes, but it’s not really their fault they don’t have the practical life knowledge older generations had at their age. Although their parents and teachers pushed them toward academic achievement—millennials are the highest-educated generation—they too often neglected to teach the youngsters common sense skills needed to live in the real world.
“With kids being busier and having activities, sports and extracurriculars, there’s not as much time sitting around the dinner table and passing down all of that information,” Flehinger says. “And then there’s no more home ec and shop in schools; before, even when [the skills] weren’t being passed down at least school was picking up that slack, and now it’s not.”
Millennials are also saddled with a staggering amount of student debt, which is affecting their ability to financially establish themselves on their own. “This generation is going to be inheriting a lot of economical problems, and they’re also going to be contributing to a lot of economical problems because of their amount of debt,” Flehinger, who at 44 years old is a Gen Xer, says. Add a lack of being able to budget effectively, and their debt becomes a hole nearly impossible to climb out of. “If [parents and teachers] had taught them budgeting, look where they would be now,” Flehinger says.”