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, November 19. 2015
Every person's list will vary due to geographical, climatological, financial, and cultural matters, but I think it's a good topic to think about, especially for parents.
Regardless of their genitalia or gender identification, what are the basic life skills you want/wanted your kids to attain before they are/were kicked out of the nest and sent on their way in life?
I'll begin with my How To list which is probably somewhat New England-oriented (my partial list, as an example), How To:
Ride, handle, and care for a horse, ski, sail a boat and handle a powerboat in rough weather, ride a bike, handle all types of firearms, catch and clean a fish, train and handle a dog, change a tire, drive a tractor, tap a Sugar Maple, swim, golf, play tennis, play some team sports, throw every kind of ball, tie knots, play some card games, play an instrument, split wood, identify basic local birds, trees, and animals, go to church, exercise daily, basic cooking, try every sort of new food, perfect table manners and social conversation, dress appropriately to occasion, write a thank-you note and a condolence note, deliver a brief speech to a crowd, make a garden, pay attention to geography and geology, cement a post, use basic tools (and chain saws for boys), do laundry, clean a house, start a fire, tell a story without boring the listener, drive a stick shift, and, not least, travel internationally with confidence.
Put your ideas about basic life skills in the comments, please.
Posted by The Barrister in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 13:46 | Comments (25) | Trackbacks (0)
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We didn't do the horse (other than riding) or the sugar maple with our kids.
We did add: Know how to take a good picture in different conditions, develop and print film (not so common or useful now), reload ammo(pistol, rifle & shotgun), throw a rope, climb a tree, use a snorkel & fins
Learn to prioritize the list as stated.
Learn that there will always be someone with more money than you.
A very beautiful woman said to me; "I can accept rejection." Once upon a time, in a land far far away.
I like Heinlein's list:
"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."
since when is playing golf a basic skill? It's just about the ultimate luxury, the most useless thing one can know unless one wants to get on the good side of "president" obama (and if you want to do that it's probably best to deliberately lose that round of golf).
Read a map.
It amazes me how many people get lost. Even I, with a relatively good sense of direction on my off days use the iPhone mapping. It's fast and easy.
But I don't usually need it. It's my safety net.
I have my boys, before they go anywhere, map it out so they know ahead of time where they are going. When we go into NYC, they have to read the subway map and figure out which trains get us to where we're going.
Map reading is an essential trait in any situation.
When you get the phone call from your Son in the Marines saying " Thanks Dad for teaching me how to read a map" because the guy calling fire calls it on their position and the radio operator ( My son) looks at the F. O. that told him the coordinates and said "Really ?? Thats OUR position ..... My son was calling fire after that.....
Funny, 'cause I was just thinking of adding "Call an artillery strike" to Mr. Heinlein's list above. Good work, Dad.
I fell in love with my first girl friend on a drive in the country when she turned the map upside down. No, she wasn't clueless. It makes the terrain and the map match up, left is left and right is right. I was intrigued that a girl would know this. Yeah, her Dad taught her.
Map reading is a skill that both my wife and taught our son while he was growing up. I have years of experience between hiking, boating, flying, and a lot of road travel and my wife has always loved cartography.
This skill is coming in handy for him because he's about to embark on a trip from New England to Ohio to see his girlfriend. Someone had suggested he get a GPS for the trip but he said he didn't need one - he had maps. He did need to print out a more detailed map for his destination, that being the his girlfriend's apartment near Ohio State, but for most of his trip he'll make use of his road atlas.
He disdains GPS because as he says, "It will screw up just when you need it the most," something he learned from our many trips across the northeast and the summers we spent out on our boat. The other plus to maps: they don't need batteries.
"read" the weather,
Can and preserve food (all kinds)
milk a cow
assist in birthing livestock
balance a checkbook and budget your funds (esp when you have none) // stretch a dollar
change your own oil and change a flat tire
find your way out of the woods (navigate with compass)
sew a button, repair your own clothing
If a person can read, write and do basic arithmetic, they should be able to get along all right. Sadly, many people can't even do that. All the other stuff is optional.
It's a great list but man, my first thought was, "This is a rich kids' list."
I would replace powerboats, sailboats, and golf with
unclog a toilet
stop a toilet from running
change a tire
unclog the kitchen sink
clean a bathroom
iron a shirt
replace a button
know what a W4 is before you are 25
Know the value of duct tape, WD-40 and bungee cord. Also baking soda, vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, salt, and a good thesaurus.
I love these lists.
Well this 36 year-old, suburban-raised white male can do about 10 of these.
And before judging, understand that most of my peers can do about 6.
A few key interpersonal skills
(a) Judge accurately a person's honesty and integrity, in all situations (e.g. buyer, seller, buying, selling, etc.)
(b) Learn to trust yourself when appropriate, and others when necessary, even in the face of ambiguity
(c) Learn the power of leadership, and when to accept it, when to defer to it, when to request it, when to demand it
(d) Learn to differentiate between what is mandatory (i.e. existential threats), important, nominal, and trivial.
Most of this is life experience, but learning continues from cradle to grave. Learning how to and the need to learn is the key. Most people - even highly skilled - get caught up on (d) once emotions get involved. I have to always tell my trainees - if it can be solved with time or money - however much! - it is not a mandatory/existential threat and therefore you can choose your response, not just react.
Cheers - jal
sharpen a knife
jump start a car battery with cables
jump start a car with a manual transmission on a hill
rod & reel basics
change a bicycle tire
dress a wound
Identify ten stars and constellations, recognize planets when they appear in the sky, be able to navigate using the sun or stars.
Recognize poison ivy and oak.
use a lever to move heavy objects
Learn how not to "collect" insults, how to keep one's mouth shut, how to lift someone who has fallen, how to detach from technology and the news for several hours a day, how to euthanize a badly injured animal, how not to be "precious," persnickety and snooty about such trivialities as food, clothing and travel. Love and serve God. Oh, and don't humble brag. Live five minutes at a time as it keeps things in proper perspective.
Yea for the geology comment! Ditto the read a map and use a compass...I know your phone does all that now, but not really. And for sure teach your daughter how to throw a ball--so she can throw out the wise ass who thinks he shouldn't have to play with girls.
Hold your liquor.
Know when less is more.
Read music and play an instrument.
Use the library (or digital equivalent) for research and to "look it up!"
Appreciate and cultivate an interest in any of the great arts like music, literature, dance, or theater.
Speak English correctly. Good grammar is important.
READ something every day.
count back change
deal politely with all customers even rude ones
make your own clothes
spin and weave [no, I'm not kidding. cloth does not magically appear at the fabric store.]
grow food, harvest food, preserve food
clean a house well
build rock walls
frame a wall
paint a house inside and out
act appropriately anyway when offended
defer reward and pleasure for bigger goal or other person
work hard without complaining
look around for work that needs to be done, then DO it. [ That's a hard one!]
do something that you are afraid of
know how to act appropriately in sacred places even if not sacred to you.
Interesting exercise. I'm sure there are many others that will come to me later.
“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
How did this get missed....Know how to safely check if a firearm is loaded/unloaded.
Basic mending of clothing (in addition to sewing on a button, already mentioned above).
Have legible handwriting.
Be politely curious about the people you meet in social gatherings.