We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
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Thursday, August 9. 2012
School education isn't everything in life. There are many important things to know that cannot be learned in school. As parents, we all try to ensure that our kids acquire basic life skills to help them enjoy life and to participate fully in life.
What makes life interesting is that all parents have different ideas about this.
Here's my first stab at making a list of the things we have expected our kids to know how to do - or at least to give it a good try - before turning 18 (guys and gals):
- Handle firearms safely
That's a start. I know that some of it is somewhat culture-specific to our lives, but it seems to me that all of these would come in handy for anybody.
What would our readers add or subtract from that?
Tracked: Aug 10, 10:19
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If they are allowed to drive a car at such a young age they should be taught excellent defensive and safe driving skills.
So much that falls under personal responsibility needs to be taught that I don't know how you might make a list.
Yes -- the basic code of honor. Never letting someone else take the blame for their own mistakes, whether by their silence or (worse) their active bearing of false witness against another. The importance of keeping a promise. The duty to intervene, especially to protect someone weaker than themselves from crime or bullying.
Agree with #1, #2, and #3. Learn the meaning and application of the following words/concepts:
I think a priority for young people at that age is learning how to identify the sharks in the human community.
With today's media saturation, kids need to learn to navigate the constant manipulation by news, shows, ads, web, etc.
Perhaps this would be an offshoot of Logic or Rhetoric classes which I don't suppose they teach anymore.
Learn how to identify others' methods of persuasion, including BS.
Looks like a pretty good list to me. I was checking to see how many of the skills I could claim some ability to perform. I'm pretty good on the majority of them but certainly need work in the areas of growing a good garden and cleaning and preparing wild game for the table (with the exception of fish).
I guess I'll have to get to work on those items!
I would put managing money at the top, deleting the word, "safely'. One needs to learn how to put ones money to work by investing, and investing is risky, not safe. Saving your money at 1% is not going to get you anywhere.
I would delete the horsemanship, boating and foreign travel, as well as how to attend a cocktail party. Those are all the trappings of the wealthy elite and not something I could afford to give a child.
Not sure how you would teach children to select friends. If values and ethics are instilled in them I would think they could choose friends without instructions.
While I have several standard transmission vehicles, I am told they are no longer made. So this is probably a skill that will disappear over time.
The rest of the list seems quite good to me. Kudos for taking the time to jot it down.
change the oil
Bonus points: dispose of the oil without spilling any.
I beg to differ. On older model cars, it wasn't hard to change the oil, and I did it. On the newer model cars, I have stopped changing the oil because modern engines are so tightly arranged that it is very difficult to get at anything.
"- Drive a standard transmission vehicle, change the oil, check the anti-freeze, inflate tires". Bleed brakes.
I would keep the word "safely".
Better to have a little nest egg earning 1% -- even if inflation is nibbling at it -- than a zero-balance nest egg earning 8 or 10%.
Then again, maybe the issue is balance.
That should have been in reply to #5.
I guess I'd add "knowing one's numbers" to the list of basic life skills.
I would expand on the household basics by including knowledge of the electrical, plumbing and other systems and how they work. Where the water shutoff valve is, the breaker panel, the gas line...that stuff is important. Also, how to properly paint things. It's not that difficult, but a good paint job requires preparation and time.
Actually it seems you got pretty much covered; I missed it.
If you'd gone to the church I'd gone to, that Gospel might not sound the same as yours. Or any other mainstream church's.
"A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects."
Robert A. Heinlein
Knots. My family places high value on knowing which knot is appropriate to the need. Boating/Water skills and horsemanship both require specific knot-tying skills, but everyone should know how to tie a bowline, and under the worst of circumstances.
Oh absolutely, I get so many people seeking employment on my boat and they can barely tie their shoes much less tie a boat to the dock with a knot that will hold and can still be released in a reasonable amount of time. One of my pet peeves.
Now this is getting interesting. Maybe the start of a MF to-teach list. A book. A manuel for various age groups...by the time you're (age 8), you should have mastered...? Guess I have to live until 120 to catch up on all the skills still to explore.
That's a pretty good list, but I think overly optimistic in some ways. And driving with a standard transmission is a little bit "trendy" as most cars, trucks and hell, even tractors, are now automatic. Including tractor trailer combinations. And fire trucks, other emergency vehicles.
I would add, learn to do some math in your head. Almost everybody fumbles the 7 and 8 tables, while the 9 and 11 tables have a little trick that keep them simple. Know what the basic fractions are in percent i.e. 1/8 is 12.5% and 1/6 is 16.66%. You can do a lot of these in your head. At a more advanced level, students should know how the interest rate functions work. It is the most useful thing I learned in college; one I used everyday of my business life. The mortgage company will calculate your payment for you, no sweat. But the life insurance company asks if you want a lump sum or a monthly pay out. Can you calculate what they're making on that trade?
How to fish, read a compass, care for a dog, replace an electrical switch, fix a faucet, identify a pit viper, give a description of someone, follow a course on a map, change a tire, comfort a child, hug a friend, and kiss the love of your life.
Yes to the maths, including basic Geometry. My mother was a portrait artist, and loved to draw and paint. We learned from her How to Look at Things and See Beauty. "Oh! Look!" - at sunsets, Beaux Arts buildings, leaves, flowers, hills, windmills, multiple trains in the station, clothing, art in museums, trees, mountains, church steeples, (& church interiors)...you name it we were taught to Look! at it. One of the reasons why (I have been meaning to post this) I enjoy the sea & land scapes and buildings pictures so much here at Maggie's Farm.
How to put a horse down without a vet.
How to detect BS artists and other types of liars!
Have the courage to stand alone and defend the principles of this country.
Have the courage to blow the whistle on corruption, or evil--even when it puts your own family in jeopardy.
You kind of hint at it with manage their money, but I think economically rational decision making is important.
The concepts of the time value of money, risk and return, concept of NPV/IRR. Partially for investing, but much more so for economic decision making. For example, is $2.9k for extending the no maintenance on a new car from 2 years to 4 years a wise, foolish, or nuetral choice? What factors would you need to estimate to determine that? Based on your usage pattern and needs, what is the most appropriate cell phone plan for you? They should be able to sniff the difference between something that is a good deal, and too good to be true.
Learn to recognize negative/pessimistic people and remove from your life.
The meaning and importance of personal responsibility.
Learn and appreciate the importance of a healthy/active lifestyle.
The ability to understand history thoroughly as if you were there as it happened.
Learn and instrument, but forget the sight reading, learn to play the music in your heart.
And agree on really learning to drive a car. Invest the money on a real high speed, defensive driving course. Some folks at my favorite watering hole tonight had just buried a 22 year old neice, died in a single car accident.
Nobody should have to do that.
I had a friend once who told me that his father made a clear distinction between a man and a male... and raised all five of his boys to be men. The process involved things like buying them a non-functional second-hand car and then refusing to drive them anywhere (including school) after that point. (I've always wondered what the difference would have been if he had had any girls to raise. Probably not much.)
To your list, I would add: how to deal with a good dog, and a bad dog; how to know the difference; how to turn a bad dog into a good dog, or put it down if it can't be fixed.
How to deal with a good man, and a bad man; how to know the difference; know to the bottom of your heart that you can't make a bad man into a good man-- but God can.
How to run a house-- how to inspect and maintain all of the sub-system parts (plumbing, electrical, HVAC, etc.), and when to call for a tradesman; knowing what to look for in a tradesman; buying/maintaining/cleaning the goods within your house (clothes, electronics, furniture, etc.); running a household budget that leaves you comfortable now and protected against the "expectable unexpected" problems.
The ability to do at least one skilled trade at a level where an employer would gladly hire you and pay you market rates for your work. If your main job is a skilled trade, then you need a second (unrelated) one. I say this both because it's the best defense against unexpected job loss, AND because having to earn your wages daily, face-to-face from a client, based on the quality and quantity of today's work, keeps you grounded like nothing else on earth.
Hear, hear, especially that last one, to which I'd add that there's much to be said for knowing in your gut that you can make a living in almost any state of society, no matter what awful things happen to your job or your local economy.
Same here on that last one. Learn, say, how to weld.
curiously (or maybe not ...) almost all of those things on your list, with only a few exceptions, I learned in the Boy Scouts (sadly, out of fashion and politically un-correct, but I am telling you- I learned teamwork, how to spend the night in the woods alone at an early age, indivdual responsibility, respect for my elders, the basics of civics and democratic government, travel, how to camp safely in almost any environment and weather conditions and on and on) and from my father.
Lean basic economics beyond what's necessary to run your personal finances. Why? To inoculate against financial boondogglery. So you at least have a better idea of where the red flags ought to run up.
I don't necessarily mean a super-technical mathematically complete understanding, but enough so that the basic terms and concepts aren't opaque.
Know what the most important component institutions of our financial system are, what they do, and why:
Understand what "fractional reserve banking" is; what the federal reserve is, what it does and why.
Understand what futures traders are, what they do, and why they are important.
Understand the difference between stocks and bonds, and the risks inherent in each; the effect of inflation on the value of bonds; the effect of interest rates on bonds etc.
I could add more. Again, doesn't have to be highly detailed, just know what they are and the basics of how they work & what they're supposed to be good for.
Along the way it would be a good idea to understand the basic framework of Congress' budgeting process, and the same for your home state. Again: to better know when you're being piped full of sunshine.