I have read many posts recently that had the same common theme: things a kid should know how to do before going off to college. The lists included things such as knowing how to do laundry, basic cooking, checkbook balancing. My first thought was “Duh….of course they should know how to do these things. These things are part of being a responsible adult- they are things you need to know how to do.” I’m not going to get into the “why” they don’t know these things- but apparently- many young adults are bereft of this knowledge.
Now, back when dinosaurs roamed the earth, and I was in what was commonly referred to as Junior High, I was required to take 2 semesters of Home Economics. I know, visions of this class bring back thoughts of burnt toast and really haphazardly sewn aprons. it harkens thoughts of women touching up their make-up before husbands return from work. Slippers and the evening paper waiting my the Lazy Boy, a pre dinner cocktail already poured. But if you can get those thoughts out of your head, I want you to think about what was learned in that class. Because all those life skills? I learned those, and more, in my home ec class when I was 13.
I know Home Economics is a bad name. So lets call it “Life Skills 1.0” or “Adulting”. And obviously, both men and women should be required to take this class. It is just as important as any subject taught in school, and in some ways, more important. Some of you are thinking, “well, I’ve taught my kids all these things.” That’s great. You get parental gold stars. But extra knowledge in these areas is not a bad thing.
Here’s my real life example. My daughter will be attending a Halloween party tomorrow night. She’s going as “The Devil Wears Prada”. Go ahead and copy the idea- I think she saw it somewhere and thought it was cool. She’s going to wear devil ears, a black skirt and a red t shirt. On the front of the t she is going to iron on letters that spell out PRADA. Easy, inexpensive, everything my kid wants in a costume. Here’s the thing: she doesn’t know how to iron. So yesterday, she asked me if I would help her. (Full disclosure- though I technically know how to iron, I choose not to. I am perfectly happy in wash and wear clothing, and I am totally cool with walking around unironed. I just don’t care. It’s also fun because it drives my Mother in Law crazy….I take my fun where I can get it)
Now, we own an iron. It is somewhere in my apartment. Where? That’s a really good question. I wish it was like my phone, and I could push a button and do “find my iron”, but as that is not an option, I’m going to have to actually look for it. And later this evening, I will be McGyevering an ironing board and teaching my kid how to iron on letters.
And though she knows the basics of cooking (I love to cook and bake- so this was a natural for me to show to her) and she can handle an industrial washing machine- there are certain things she does not know how to do. She has basic skill level with tools, she can hammer a nail, and knows the difference between a flat head and Philips screwdriver- but the last time we bought assemble at home furniture, she was really looking to me for guidance. Yes- I had her assemble a small bookcase (FYI- my husband does not know how to do these things….I put together all the things that need assembly) And I’m sure there are many other tasks my daughter would not know how to do. So I think that a class that showed the basics would be a great idea.
So, because I love to make everyone think and participate- what life skills do you think kids need before they leave the nest? Do you think it should be entirely parent responsibility, or do you think a semester at school learning these things would be a good idea?