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Life skills everyone should have before leaving home... - Page 5

post #81 of 183
And you know.. with online banking.. balancing a check book isn't even really necessary anymore. I can get real time account info online! But you do have to realize that some checks might not have cleared and account for them.
post #82 of 183
Quote:
Originally Posted by SeekingJoy View Post
It's interesting to me the different life skills posters consider useful in their culture, community or to the situations they (or their children) expect to encounter within their SES.

Even balancing a checkbook is actually fairly class- and society-based and makes assumptions about financial resources.
The only assumption I was making was that my kids would be employed at some point, honestly. I've been well under the poverty line (which is not poverty the way much of the world experiences it, and I know that). Every single job I've ever had, or anyone I know has ever had, pays by cheque. Yes - people can cash it at the bank, but walking around with the cash is something most people I know don't want to do.

Quote:
I have always been middle class (give or take), but DH -- not so much. We have lived places where banking was outside the norm for most people in that community. Instead, everything was cash- or barter-based. Honestly, literacy was also somewhat outside the norm in swaths of that community; 60+% of adults were functionally illiterate. It just wasn't seen as necessary to get by.
That would be different, but it does sound well outside the norm in North America, at least. Even the most menial tasks here are paid by cheque. The only time I've ever seen anyone get paid cash is if they're working under the table. Since that can get people into all kinds of legal trouble, it's not really part of "functioning", yk? I know there are some places that aren't so cheque driven, but I really think that vast majority of North America is.

I'm not even sure where I'm going with this - had a thought, got interrupted by a baby, and can't get it back...

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I would add as a basic life skill the ability to learn and adapt to change. I don't know how to chop wood, but I am 100% confident that given 30 minutes I could either find 1) someone to teach me 2) an online tutorial or 3) a book about it. Or all three. Sometimes it isn't what you know, but where to learn what you need to know.
Very true. Being able to adapt is really important.
post #83 of 183
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ellien C View Post
My parents were honestly not great at this. I think they didn't want to look stupid. DH is GREAT at it. Watching him has taught me a lot.
My mom was pretty good at it. I suck at it. I hate asking questions, and I tend not to do it. I have no idea why.

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I'm also going to add that if someone can't do something, it's not always mommas fault that they didn't learn. Maybe they refused to learn and maybe there was Dad there or not there who also failed to teach.
Exactly. Mom and dad taught me stuff that completely failed to "take".

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And in this day and age, I think that touch-typing with all 10 fingers is pretty important. But I will admit that I can't really text at all.
Good point. Basic typing is important. My dad encouraged me to take a typing class back in '83, because he could see that it was going to be important in the world of computers, and was just an all-around useful skill. It's even more so now.

Quote:
Originally Posted by aniT View Post
And you know.. with online banking.. balancing a check book isn't even really necessary anymore. I can get real time account info online! But you do have to realize that some checks might not have cleared and account for them.
Yeah - I didn't mean necessarily balancing a chequebook in the literal sense - just in terms of being aware of the ins and outs of outstanding items, bank fees, etc. I've known too many people who just can't do this.
post #84 of 183
Taxes!

I had no idea regarding what to do with my taxes since I was out of the house and I became a self-employed individual.

I was audited by the time I turned 28 for failure to file/failure to file correctly for several years.

The positive side is I now know a good deal more than the average human regarding the IRS and filing. Just the same though, I use CPA to help me out. If you don't educate your child on how to file themselves, at least get them to put money aside to pay a CPA every year.
post #85 of 183
People work under the table all the time where I am from.

But as an aside.. DH's job ONLY pays by direct deposit. (government.) If you get social security or any other type of government check they ONLY pay by direct deposit. So you have to have a checking account of some sort to get paid.
post #86 of 183
True. I'm being sloppy in my language. When I said they all pay by cheque, I meant they all pay through a bank in some way. Direct deposit is used by almost everybody now. Only small businesses still do actual cheques.

Sure - I've known lots of people who get paid under the table, too. But, it's not really something I want my kids to do as it does carry legal penalties, fines, fees, etc. It's not exactly non-functional, but...I'm having trouble being coherent here. If someone isn't taught to do something (manage a bank account) that's often required in order to receive a legal income, I don't think I could say they've acquired the basic skills they need to function.
post #87 of 183
What a great topic!

I'll echo what other have said I"m sure, but here are mine:

How to be punctual.
-It takes some planning to learn how to be on time for things and also the importance of being on time

Etiquette
-Etiquette is so often considered old fashioned or stuffy when in fact it is basic common courtesy designed to make those around you comfortable. It also gives you confidence in any and all situations, to know how to handle yourself.

How to aquire food and cook it
-how to shop and farm markets, grocery stores, find fresh food vs. old and how to cook it well and for more than one person

How to research
-Most people don't do this at all. They accept what they are told with no inclination or even an idea of how to fact check for themselves. It is a skill to be able to find information and verify it with credible sources

How to not be an idiot in relationships
-Sounds silly but I have spent my life listening to friends weep over failed relationships when really I want to ask, didn't your parents ever tell you NOT to do X, Y, Z?

How to entertain
-I think it is important to be able to invite people into your home and show them an enjoyable evening

How to keep a home
-cleaning, organizing, and throwing things away! Not being a pack rat.

How to always be honest not matter what
-Integrity and character exist when no one is looking.

Just some of mine....
post #88 of 183
There are really two categories of skills that I want my kids to have, living and social skills. I tried to answer this question without reading other people's answers because I didn't want to be influenced by them.

Living Skills

Cooking - how to cook from scratch and read a recipe.
Shopping - how to find decent products (from food to clothing to cars) and research how much to pay for them
Cleaning - everything from dishes to bathrooms to vacuuming and dusting
Laundry (Ironing is so optional in my house that our kids were astonished the two times I've done it in their presence!)
How to sew on a button
How to use safety pins to effectively repair other clothing
How to budget
How to manage your finances (banking, paying taxes, etc)
How to get use a map and find your way around a strange place
How to use public transportation
How to find and evaluate information

Social skills
How to introduce yourself to people
how to introduce someone you know to someone else
How to apologize
How to write a thank you note
How to make a phone call
How to ask for help
To offer help to other people when they're in need
To make small talk for a few minutes

I'm not sure about that last one, but decided that it is important enough to include. It smooths the way to so many different things.
post #89 of 183
Quote:
Originally Posted by LynnS6 View Post
To make small talk for a few minutes

I'm not sure about that last one, but decided that it is important enough to include. It smooths the way to so many different things.
Okay - there's one I just thought of, which would be great to teach my kids - if I had a clue how to do it myself. That whole "small talk smoothing the way to so many different things" idea. How does it do that? If I make small talk, I'm making small talk. It doesn't smooth everything. Eventually, the person I'm talking to and I get past the small talk, and then the conversation is over, because small talk is...small talk. I know for other people, it works as some kind of lead-in or something, but I have no idea how. I've just never figured it out.

Mind you, I just generally suck at "people". I'm hoping my kids do better. DS1 already leaves me in the dust.
post #90 of 183
Quote:
Originally Posted by SeekingJoy View Post
I would add as a basic life skill the ability to learn and adapt to change. I don't know how to chop wood, but I am 100% confident that given 30 minutes I could either find 1) someone to teach me 2) an online tutorial or 3) a book about it. Or all three. Sometimes it isn't what you know, but where to learn what you need to know.
This! That what I was thinking about the lobster debate too. Knowing how to do it is nice, but the essential skill is knowing how to ask if you're presented with something you don't know. No one can know everything. Even with things like cooking or cleaning, basic skills can be easily learned. My mom did teach me to "cook" (open box, open all packets, mix together) and clean, but I do them completely differently now as an adult in my own home. I learned on my own how to cook healthy meals from scratch and how to clean without harsh chemicals, things that I know a lot of MDC mamas do and I'm guessing a lot of us didn't learn from our own parents.
We live in a city with great public transit and we don't own a car, so being able to take a bus or train and bike are essential basics for us. Driving isn't in our current situation, but I do really want my dd to know how. I think it is an important life skill, even if we don't need it every day.
My final thought is just a reminder that parenting doesn't end when our children turn 18. Some of these things (I'm thinking especially of a lot of the financial ones) are things that might not even come up until our children are adults, but that doesn't mean that we have failed as parents, it just means that we need to continue teaching.
post #91 of 183
Quote:
Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post
How you can teach someone to navigate an airport if you don't actually fly anywhere, though? Honestly, I don't think "navigating an airport" is all that useful, in some ways. I know Vancouver airport inside out - I know the trick gate (we have a weird one, where the sign and most of the seats are on the other side of a glass wall from the actual boarding gate), and I know the departure and arrivals areas very well. That did squat for me the first time I had to find my way around SeaTac...and Ohare...and Atlanta. I need to navigate the particular airport I'm at, and they're not all set up the same way.
But to each their own circumstances, yk? "Navigate" in a general way. My family was spread far and wide throughout the US when I was a child. When my grandfather was dying my parents had to leave out-of-state immediately and I followed a few days later with my three younger sisters in tow. I knew how to check-in, check luggage, find it, make three plane transfers in three states, etc. I was sixteen...scared to death of the responsibility and it wasn't the last time it happened. When I started working, too, I flew to Chicago alone and had to do the same/hotel check/transfers, etc. NTM hotel and travel "etiquette". Not a basic survival skill but one I feel is inherently useful and liberating for a young person, particularly if they're in a family when travel, whether leisure, education or business, is a part of life.

It really isn't very different from navigating a public transportation system. I rode the bus more a young person but living in a place where there is not easy access to public transportation made a knowledge of flight more useful to *me*.
post #92 of 183
Quote:
Originally Posted by July09Mama View Post
We live in a city with great public transit and we don't own a car, so being able to take a bus or train and bike are essential basics for us. Driving isn't in our current situation, but I do really want my dd to know how. I think it is an important life skill, even if we don't need it every day.
I was wondering if you lived in Portland when I read this. I don't know many other cities that are as pubic transit/bike friendly as Portland.

On the entertaining.. I know you said it was important to you (and I am glad you qualified that) but why is it important to entertain others? Some people just don't like to entertain in their homes. My MIL labels herself as a social butterfly and couldn't believe I didn't have a coffee pot. Umm DH and I don't like coffee. "But you need one for your guests!" Umm no I am not buying a coffee pot on the off chance that someone comes over and wants coffee. .
post #93 of 183
I guess the airport thing puzzles me, because the basics are...really basic - far simpler than balancing a bank account or cooking, for instance. Barriers to navigating an airport are usually not practical barrier, ime...more psychological. (I personally hate airports with a passion, and find it somewhat ironic that I ended up falling in love with a man whose hometown and interests both dictate that I have to spend at least some time in airports.)
post #94 of 183
Quote:
Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post
I guess the airport thing puzzles me, because the basics are...really basic - far simpler than balancing a bank account or cooking, for instance. Barriers to navigating an airport are usually not practical barrier, ime...more psychological. (I personally hate airports with a passion, and find it somewhat ironic that I ended up falling in love with a man whose hometown and interests both dictate that I have to spend at least some time in airports.)
And there is always someone there who will help you. When I landed at Dallas Forth Worth with a three year old, 6 carry-ons and a car seat (was moving across country) they hailed a golf cart type thing and took me, my child, and belongings to the next gate.. which was really really really far away. So, its not like if you can't find your way you are SOL.. there are employees everywhere willing to help.
post #95 of 183
OK, now that I've read the whole thread, here are my responses...

Quote:
Originally Posted by lynsage View Post
How about driving? I know of a woman (an acquaintance of people I am close with) in her late 20s whose parents still drive her around. Now THAT is a person who has not been taught life skills. And before anyone asks, no, she is not disabled in any way.
This totally depends on where you live. If I lived in Europe, driving would not be an essential life skill. Even here in Portland, it's not essential. But I will teach my kids to drive because I can't predict where they will end up.


Quote:
Originally Posted by lynsage View Post
It also shocks me how many adults from two-parent homes I know that never learned to do basic home repairs or yard work
I agree and would add this to my list.


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Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post
I hate sewing. I have sewn on a button, but it's been a long, long time. If I have to, I can sew up a very small tear, but it's not neat. I've sewn up multiple popped seams, and even some patches, but they're also not neat. I just find sewing insanely stressful.
Me too! Hence my desire to teach my kids to fix things with safety pins. If it needs a straight seam, they need to make friends with people who can sew!

Quote:
Originally Posted by aniT View Post
I have never used public transit. (well I have taken the train with Dh to places now that we live in Portland but never by myself.) ]
You wanna borrow my 8 year old for a weekend? He'll teach you more than you ever want to know about taking the bus or the MAX in Portland. He can tell you which bus routes go where and how long it will take. He could read a bus schedule at 6. (It's been a major obsession for him for 2 years.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by SeekingJoy View Post
It's interesting to me the different life skills posters consider useful in their culture, community or to the situations they (or their children) expect to encounter within their SES.
Yes, I agree. I've always lived places where banking was the norm, so I expect my kids to learn about it. Just like I expect my kids to go to college (even though ds wants to be a bus driver (see above)!) But dealing with money is the life skill - how to do it in your culture is something that can vary.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post
Okay - there's one I just thought of, which would be great to teach my kids - if I had a clue how to do it myself. That whole "small talk smoothing the way to so many different things" idea. How does it do that? If I make small talk, I'm making small talk. It doesn't smooth everything. Eventually, the person I'm talking to and I get past the small talk, and then the conversation is over, because small talk is...small talk. I know for other people, it works as some kind of lead-in or something, but I have no idea how. I've just never figured it out.
Ah, well, you see there are two kinds of small talk. There is the kind of small talk that you do with people with whom you don't expect to have a long term relationship -- the clerk in the store, the administrative assistant at the doctor's office. That does help because it puts people at ease and generally leads to better service.

Then there's the kind of small talk that you do to start a conversation/relationship. Only, the first 3-10 times you do it, you don't know if it's the "doesn't lead anywhere" kind of small talk or the "getting to know you" kind of small talk. I'm not great the second kind, but I'm getting better with age. For this second kind, you eventually move on to asking questions about them and finding common interests. But a lot of it is just time, and then having one or two good questions to ask them to move things forward. If someone is pleasant to you, and asks about you, you might be motivated to spend more time with them.
post #96 of 183
Quote:
Originally Posted by lynsage View Post
It also shocks me how many adults from two-parent homes I know that never learned to do basic home repairs or yard work
Oh I missed this the first time around. Wanna know the kicker to this one? My stepfather.. after retiring as a civilian building maintenance worker for a military base opened his own home repair business. This is what he does for a living!!! Skill we were never taught.

Honestly.. I think my parents didn't teach us anything becuase they were lazy.

I can mow a law.. I do know how to pull weeds.. but my grandfather was a FARMER and I know my mother knows/knew a lot more than she passed on. (I remember him in the 70's with a gas powered chipper chipping things to add to his compost pile. But he died when I was 7)
post #97 of 183
Quote:
Originally Posted by BarnMomma View Post
How to research
-Most people don't do this at all. They accept what they are told with no inclination or even an idea of how to fact check for themselves. It is a skill to be able to find information and verify it with credible sources.
I am always amazed at what people don't question, like my MIL overwhelmed by conflicting advertising by political interest groups. She has no understanding that all advertising is at best just biased. A related skill would be to tell the difference between fact and opinion. Be skeptical!

Quote:
Originally Posted by BarnMomma View Post
How to entertain
-I think it is important to be able to invite people into your home and show them an enjoyable evening
I really wish I was better at this. We used to have parties all the time and I loved it, but keggers don't really seem appropriate for our current circle. Tips on how to learn the nuances of this?


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Originally Posted by BarnMomma View Post
How to keep a home
-cleaning, organizing, and throwing things away! Not being a pack rat.
Yes! My hoarding mother totally fails at this. If not taught as a habit early, it can be so hard to unlearn a lifetime of messy behavior.
post #98 of 183
Quote:
Originally Posted by SeekingJoy View Post
Yes! My hoarding mother totally fails at this. If not taught as a habit early, it can be so hard to unlearn a lifetime of messy behavior.
I'm a hoarder/packrat. So were both my parents. Both those parents grew up in neat, tidy homes where order and decluttering were very high priority. My sister isn't a hoarder/packrat at all. (I don't even know about my brother, because his wife is and if he isn't, there's no way to know!) Teaching this stuff is only possible to a degree, because hoarding/packratting is partly (largely?) emotional.
post #99 of 183
Quote:
Originally Posted by SeekingJoy View Post
Yes! My hoarding mother totally fails at this. If not taught as a habit early, it can be so hard to unlearn a lifetime of messy behavior.
post #100 of 183
Quote:
Originally Posted by SeekingJoy View Post
It's interesting to me the different life skills posters consider useful in their culture, community or to the situations they (or their children) expect to encounter within their SES.
Quote:
Originally Posted by LynnS6 View Post
Yes, I agree. I've always lived places where banking was the norm, so I expect my kids to learn about it. Just like I expect my kids to go to college (even though ds wants to be a bus driver (see above)!) But dealing with money is the life skill - how to do it in your culture is something that can vary.
I actually expect my kids to learn about banking. To this end, I have started talking with my 4 yr old about money management. Heck, I have an MPA with a concentration/specialization in financial management.

My point was rather how the disagreements in this thread seem to stem from cultural, geographic, class or other differences. What basic skills one needs is relative. And those differences are so interesting to me.
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