Last week Greg and I had lunch with a friend. She works in a nursery (the kind with plants). She had mentioned she was retiring soon and leaving the day-to-day business to a very enthusiastic 21 year old.
What piqued my curiosity was when she told me this young woman had asked her how to sew on a button that had come off her jacket.
I was floored because I couldn’t fathom how anyone could not know how to do such a simple task. My friend (who’s around young people a lot) told me it wasn’t all that unusual. They know how to change code to a web site, but they don’t know how to change a tire. It boggles the imagination.
I’ve mentioned before that I have no real skill with needle or thread, but even I have a sewing box. They’re cheap insurance. The one shown even has a book for the rank beginner.
If I were to list fifteen things everyone should know by the time they’re twenty-one, these would be my top choices.
- Sew on a button, or hem a pair of pants.
- Be able to change a tire. I’ve been stuck in areas with no phone service.
- Unclog a toilet.
- Balance a checkbook.
- Bake a cake–even if it’s from a mix.
- Do your own taxes.
- Write a proper thank you card.
- Create, and stick to a budget.
- Know basic first aid.
- Know how to hang a picture.
- Learn to read a map.
- Know how to jump start a car.
- Make a meal from real food (not processed).
- Negotiate a deal for a car, furniture, or other big ticket items.
- Know how to do a proper load of laundry.
I was on my own by eighteen, but I think most of the skills from the list above were already honed while I was still a child. I didn’t learn home maintenance or car repair until I actually had a car and home. We were too poor to hire anyone, so we had to learn to do things ourselves.
Poverty teaches you to be very self-sufficient. 😀
What would you add to the list? If you have children, did you teach them any of the skills on the list before they left home?