Life skills everyone should have before leaving home... - Page 3 - Mothering Forums

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Old 12-04-2009, 07:17 PM
 
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I can't decide if some of these are joking or serious. Skip a stone and juggle? As for shellfish.. I don't like them so I have no need to know how to crack or peel them. The same goes for pomegranates.
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Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post
I think our definitions of "basic" are a little different. In any case, this caveat:

strongly applies to all this, imo:


I can't skate (and probably won't try again - I don't enjoy it, and it stresses me out). I didn't ride a bike for almost 20 years. If dh's family weren't so far away, and if he didn't want to travel, I'd never get on a plane, and I don't even like staying in hotels. I managed quite well without these "basic" skills well into my 30s. I think they're good things to learn, and I think bicycling is awesome (even though I suck at it, and don't like traffic even a little bit). But, I don't think any of these things are basic.


This is probably the only original (ie. other posters haven't already covered it) that I'd call basic, and think everyone should learn. I hadn't thought of it, but it's really important, imo. One never knows when they could end up unexpectedly near water, and this is a survival skill.
I'm semi-serious about my list. Everyone will have different ideas on skills they want their children to have.

First I was thinking of the fun and happy skills I wanted them to acquire. Swimming, skating and bicycling are all important to us. Living in a cold climate and being unable to skate is just sad, IMO. It's limiting, and sidelines that person from a lot of fun. The fun things reminded me of skipping stones and juggling...they seem like basic childhood skills to me.

I included the food related items because I've known a few embarrassed people at dinner parties who've been confronted for the first time with shellfish or something else that isn't meatloaf or potatoes. Especially if it's a business dinner, it's been excruciating for them.

I know one mid-Western freshman, during his first term of college (and first time away from home) who had to explain to his university professor, a few upperclass and grad students that his family only ever ate meat and potatoes. No green stuff. Ever. He didn't know what to do with his salad. That kid was labelled for the rest of his undergrad degree. They were kind to him, but I don't think he ever lived down his reputation as a hayseed.

I want my children to be adventurous eaters because I think it's healthy to be open to different things. I also want them to be confident in social situations.

As for the travel - we travel a fair amount. Yes, these days I think it's a pretty basic skill. Lots of uni students head off during their holidays. They should be as safe, aware, and informed traveling on vacation as they are on the cross-town bus.



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Originally Posted by MadiMamacita View Post
I have read most of the replies, but has general survival skills been mentioned?
how to build a fire, tie some basic knots, read a compass, how to find fresh water, basics of edible plants/mushrooms/berries, etc etc (i have seen many an episode of survivorman.. can you tell??)
I included chop wood and build a fire in my original post. I was thinking of including survival skills, but thought it would be beyond the basics, lol! As you can see, most of the rest of the post has been jumped on, but not that one!
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Old 12-04-2009, 07:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Great thread! Everything I'd put on the list has already been mentioned, except one, the one I was most appalled that some of the 50 women on my dorm floor did not have:

How to use a bathroom courteously and clean up after yourself enough to account for the fact that the bathroom is professionally cleaned only once every 48 hours. I mean, it seems to me that that is more than adequately frequent cleaning, yet that bathroom sometimes bordered on unusable. The girls who'd grown up with maids figured it was normal to drop wet towels, tampon applicators, and stained panties on the floor and just leave them there expecting them to magically disappear.
I'm nodding. I've cleaned many a woman's bathroom and wanted to puke...at least with men it's usually just pee everywhere.

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Old 12-04-2009, 07:18 PM
 
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This too! I have asked numerous questions about the aforementioned young woman's access to public transportation, bike paths, etc. and the answer has consistently been that she either won't use them or doesn't know how. It freaks me out!
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.) I grew up in an area where it did not exist so there was nothing to learn. When DH and I got married we lived in a place with buses but I am not going to hop on a bus that takes 2 hours to go 15 miles.

Is it possible this person doens't know how to uses it becuase it didn't exist where she was from (not uncommon in the US) so there was nothing to learn?
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Old 12-04-2009, 07:26 PM
 
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I'm semi-serious about my list. Everyone will have different ideas on skills they want their children to have.

First I was thinking of the fun and happy skills I wanted them to acquire. Swimming, skating and bicycling are all important to us. Living in a cold climate and being unable to skate is just sad, IMO. It's limiting, and sidelines that person from a lot of fun. The fun things reminded me of skipping stones and juggling...they seem like basic childhood skills to me.

I included the food related items because I've known a few embarrassed people at dinner parties who've been confronted for the first time with shellfish or something else that isn't meatloaf or potatoes. Especially if it's a business dinner, it's been excruciating for them.

I know one mid-Western freshman, during his first term of college (and first time away from home) who had to explain to his university professor, a few upperclass and grad students that his family only ever ate meat and potatoes. No green stuff. Ever. He didn't know what to do with his salad. That kid was labelled for the rest of his undergrad degree. They were kind to him, but I don't think he ever lived down his reputation as a hayseed.

I want my children to be adventurous eaters because I think it's healthy to be open to different things. I also want them to be confident in social situations.

As for the travel - we travel a fair amount. Yes, these days I think it's a pretty basic skill. Lots of uni students head off during their holidays. They should be as safe, aware, and informed traveling on vacation as they are on the cross-town bus.





I included chop wood and build a fire in my original post. I was thinking of including survival skills, but thought it would be beyond the basics, lol! As you can see, most of the rest of the post has been jumped on, but not that one!
I don't know anyone who can juggle and very few people who can skip stones. If you aren't around water much.. it's not a skill you are going to pick up.

Also from this post it sounds like you are talking about ice skating. You just said skating which I interpreted to mean roller skating. That would not be a basic skill since the ONLY ice rink I know if is in downtown Portland at least an hour away. It's not a very important skill here as there is no place to do it. Roller skating at least you can do on the street.. but again.. isn't very big here.

I have to admit.. I am 38 and I have never had the occasion to eat lobster or other shell fish at a business function. I have never seen it served. DH took me to Red Lobster once and it was gross. He insists I need to try lobster somewhere "real" before deciding I don't like it.. but I am hesitant to fork out big bucks to try something I didn't like the last time I tried it.

As for your children being confident in social situations.. that is a good goal.. however.. DH's mom is as she calls herself "a social butterfly" he resents his mother for all the "social" stuff she FORCED him with threats to learn. Things he has never in his life needed or used again and things he hated every single minute of being tortured with learning. Just remember being socially active is a personality preference and please be mindful of your children's desires to not participate in things you like.
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Old 12-04-2009, 07:29 PM
 
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The girls who'd grown up with maids figured it was normal to drop wet towels, tampon applicators, and stained panties on the floor and just leave them there expecting them to magically disappear.
That. is. disgusting.

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Old 12-04-2009, 07:37 PM
 
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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.) I grew up in an area where it did not exist so there was nothing to learn. When DH and I got married we lived in a place with buses but I am not going to hop on a bus that takes 2 hours to go 15 miles.

Is it possible this person doens't know how to uses it becuase it didn't exist where she was from (not uncommon in the US) so there was nothing to learn?

I don't want to hijack the thread complaining about this perplexing individual, but she grew up with the same access as everyone else in her town to the local public transit and just refuses to learn how to use it, knows how to ride a bike, and knows how to walk- she just doesn't. The one story I have heard in which someone managed to make her walk more than a few yards by dropping her off at the corner of the main road and her street because her street was unexpectedly blocked to car traffic, she was extremely indignant and behaved as if she was being asked to do something highly degrading.

Basically she is just an extremely dependent, manipulative person who protects herself from being expected to function like an adult by not learning basic life skills. And because her parents have never insisted that she learn them, she is now approaching 30 and has never supported herself and probably never will.
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Old 12-04-2009, 07:45 PM
 
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I don't know anyone who can juggle and very few people who can skip stones. If you aren't around water much.. it's not a skill you are going to pick up.

Also from this post it sounds like you are talking about ice skating. You just said skating which I interpreted to mean roller skating. That would not be a basic skill since the ONLY ice rink I know if is in downtown Portland at least an hour away. It's not a very important skill here as there is no place to do it. Roller skating at least you can do on the street.. but again.. isn't very big here.

I have to admit.. I am 38 and I have never had the occasion to eat lobster or other shell fish at a business function. I have never seen it served. DH took me to Red Lobster once and it was gross. He insists I need to try lobster somewhere "real" before deciding I don't like it.. but I am hesitant to fork out big bucks to try something I didn't like the last time I tried it.

As for your children being confident in social situations.. that is a good goal.. however.. DH's mom is as she calls herself "a social butterfly" he resents his mother for all the "social" stuff she FORCED him with threats to learn. Things he has never in his life needed or used again and things he hated every single minute of being tortured with learning. Just remember being socially active is a personality preference and please be mindful of your children's desires to not participate in things you like.



I think that should work both ways. People should be mindful of their child's desires to try things, and enjoy them, even if their parents don't like them. I'm sad thinking that a child doesn't get to eat lobster or prawns just because Mom or Dad doesn't like shellfish, or pomegranate, which is fun to crunch like popcorn and packed full of healthy antioxidants or any other food.

It's sad that your dh was tortured. Perhaps I'm lucky that my dc enjoy different social occasions and experiences. Or perhaps it's a difference in parenting style. I don't force food on my children if they don't want to eat it. I invite them to try new things. We travel, so they have developed a taste for different types of food. In a global village, it's an important - yes basic - skill to us. YMMV.

I have been at dinners and watched people struggle with the food presented to them. If you haven't, it's nice that you've avoided it.

As for the rest, I'm wondering now. Was the OP inviting us to post lists that are relevant to our individual families and geographic locations, or lists that are only relevant to Portland?
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Old 12-04-2009, 07:48 PM
 
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Originally Posted by ollyoxenfree View Post
I'm semi-serious about my list. Everyone will have different ideas on skills they want their children to have.
But, we're not talking about skills we want our children to have. We're talking about basic life skills - ones it's hard to function and/or survive without.

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First I was thinking of the fun and happy skills I wanted them to acquire. Swimming, skating and bicycling are all important to us. Living in a cold climate and being unable to skate is just sad, IMO. It's limiting, and sidelines that person from a lot of fun. The fun things reminded me of skipping stones and juggling...they seem like basic childhood skills to me.
Okay - but being sidelined from something fun is a choice, to some extent. If someone really finds they're missing out by not being able to swim, skate or cycle, they can learn. (I got back on a bike again in '02, after not having ridden one at all since about...'82, maybe '81. I didn't learn in the first place until I was 12, and didn't feel any lack.) Not being able to skate might be "sad", but I can't. I've tried. That doesn't make me feel sidelined - but having people push me about it sometimes did. Skipping stones? It might be "basic", but I never managed to master it, either. We used to skip stones all the time when I was a kid. I managed to get mine to hit three times - once. The only kids I've ever known who could juggle were my ex, and ds1 (who learned at about 10, and only because I remembered his dad doing it, and thought he might like it).

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I included the food related items because I've known a few embarrassed people at dinner parties who've been confronted for the first time with shellfish or something else that isn't meatloaf or potatoes. Especially if it's a business dinner, it's been excruciating for them.

I know one mid-Western freshman, during his first term of college (and first time away from home) who had to explain to his university professor, a few upperclass and grad students that his family only ever ate meat and potatoes. No green stuff. Ever. He didn't know what to do with his salad. That kid was labelled for the rest of his undergrad degree. They were kind to him, but I don't think he ever lived down his reputation as a hayseed.
hmm....maybe a "basic" skill should be avoiding the labeling of someone, based on what his parents fed him when he was growing up.

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I want my children to be adventurous eaters because I think it's healthy to be open to different things. I also want them to be confident in social situations.
I want that for my kids, too. That said, I won't eat lobster, because I'm pretty sure I'd like it, and I have zero interest in deliberately acquiring a taste for something that expensive.

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As for the travel - we travel a fair amount. Yes, these days I think it's a pretty basic skill. Lots of uni students head off during their holidays. They should be as safe, aware, and informed traveling on vacation as they are on the cross-town bus.
Lots of people aren't uni students. In any case, I know far too many people who don't travel to consider it "basic".

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I included chop wood and build a fire in my original post. I was thinking of including survival skills, but thought it would be beyond the basics, lol! As you can see, most of the rest of the post has been jumped on, but not that one!
I think it's kind of funny that you consider juggling and using chopsticks to be "basic", but not simple survival skills. I don't have as many of those as I'd like, but they are pretty basic, for the most part.

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I have to admit.. I am 38 and I have never had the occasion to eat lobster or other shell fish at a business function. I have never seen it served.
Neither have I. Around here, it's fairly standard to have 2-3 options, and they're almost always some kind of red meat (roast or steak or some such), a chicken dish and a salmon dish.

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DH took me to Red Lobster once and it was gross. He insists I need to try lobster somewhere "real" before deciding I don't like it.. but I am hesitant to fork out big bucks to try something I didn't like the last time I tried it.
I can understand that. As I said above, I have completely different reasons for avoiding lobster...but I do love crab!

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Old 12-04-2009, 07:49 PM
 
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Birth control, safe sex, how to recognize a toxic or abusive relationship.

How to talk out the important things before you decide to have kids with someone, and how not to have kids until you are ready.
This. (how to recognize a toxic or abusive relationship)
I could chop wood, repair an engine, cook and bake most anything, sew, budget for groceries, pump my own gas, do laundry, heck I could even skip stones like you wouldn't believe! But have a relationship with any guy who wasn't (at best) 'only' verbally abusive or 'only' did hard drugs on the weekends or 'only' was a little bit insane, forget about it! I was completely clueless.

Birth control too, would you believe that I actually thought that if you disolved two pills in ginger ale and drank it right after having sex you wouldn't get pregnant??!!
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Old 12-04-2009, 07:55 PM
 
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I think that should work both ways. People should be mindful of their child's desires to try things, and enjoy them, even if their parents don't like them. I'm sad thinking that a child doesn't get to eat lobster or prawns just because Mom or Dad doesn't like shellfish, or pomegranate, which is fun to crunch like popcorn and packed full of healthy antioxidants or any other food.
I agree, but I'm not sure what that has to do with anything posted in this thread.

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Perhaps I'm lucky that my dc enjoy different social occasions and experiences.
Yes. You are. I hated being put into different social occasions as a child (still don't care for it). DD1 also hates it. Exposing her to new and different social opportunities is a constant balancing act, and very difficult to navigate. I have no idea if I'll be able to pull of making her confident about them! (I know I'm not, and never have been. Most social occasions, for me, are a source of stress.)

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I have been at dinners and watched people struggle with the food presented to them. If you haven't, it's nice that you've avoided it.
I've avoided it, too...but I go to very few dinners, in the sense that you mean. I wouldn't struggle with the food, but I wouldn't want to be there, in the first place.

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As for the rest, I'm wondering now. Was the OP inviting us to post lists that are relevant to our individual families and geographic locations, or lists that are only relevant to Portland?
I'm confused about what you're getting at here. You posted some very specific items, as well. Your reference to the "global village" and talk about travel are specific to you, just as much as aniT is posting things specific to Portland. Obviously, we're all going to have somewhat different views, based on what we see as basic. Several people have mentioned driving and car maintenance and such - that's only basic if you get around with a car. Sure, most people do, but not everybody, so it's not basic for everybody, yk?

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Old 12-04-2009, 08:00 PM
 
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I think that should work both ways. People should be mindful of their child's desires to try things, and enjoy them, even if their parents don't like them. I'm sad thinking that a child doesn't get to eat lobster or prawns just because Mom or Dad doesn't like shellfish, or pomegranate, which is fun to crunch like popcorn and packed full of healthy antioxidants or any other food.

It's sad that your dh was tortured. Perhaps I'm lucky that my dc enjoy different social occasions and experiences. Or perhaps it's a difference in parenting style. I don't force food on my children if they don't want to eat it. I invite them to try new things. We travel, so they have developed a taste for different types of food. In a global village, it's an important - yes basic - skill to us. YMMV.

I have been at dinners and watched people struggle with the food presented to them. If you haven't, it's nice that you've avoided it.

As for the rest, I'm wondering now. Was the OP inviting us to post lists that are relevant to our individual families and geographic locations, or lists that are only relevant to Portland?
I grew up in California. No ice rink there either. I think the OP was inviting us to post general life skills that a person would need to learn to function in society. A person does not need to learn how to ice skate, eat lobster, or skip stones to function in society.

A person however does need to know how to balance a check book, do their laundry, and cook food.

Also, my children don't get lobster for the same reason I didn't. It cost too much money. Some of your answers just seem.. kind of privileged to me.

I am not advocating that you don't let your children do things they want to do because you don't like them. I spent my childhood doing nothing. Either becuase of money or because my mother didn't want to. My husband was forced to do things he didn't want to do because he mother thought they were skills he needed to learn (I wasn't talking about food, I was talking about activities she liked and forced her children to learn participate in, for instance tap dancing, ball room dancing, violin.) I am simply pointing out one side of the issue and hoping a happy medium somewhere along the line can be reached.
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Old 12-04-2009, 08:03 PM
 
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But, we're not talking about skills we want our children to have. We're talking about basic life skills - ones it's hard to function and/or survive without.
I think it's hard to function and/or survive without a sense of fun and adventure. The skipping stones and juggling were supposed to be fun suggestions. It's too bad they seem to have riled some people.



Okay - but being sidelined from something fun is a choice, to some extent. If someone really finds they're missing out by not being able to swim, skate or cycle, they can learn.

True, true. People can learn any skill - laundry, cooking, home repair, budgeting - if they think they are missing out. They don't have to learn them before they move out. It just means they're better prepared if they do. Just like learning a few things like swimming, skating and cycling can help them prepare if they find themselves on a beach, or invited to a skating party, or living in a town with terrible public transit.




Lots of people aren't uni students. In any case, I know far too many people who don't travel to consider it "basic".

I know many people who travel all the time. YMMV

I think it's kind of funny that you consider juggling and using chopsticks to be "basic", but not simple survival skills. I don't have as many of those as I'd like, but they are pretty basic, for the most part.

If you've lived in Asia, then using chopsticks is pretty basic. There's about a billion people who agree with me on this one
....
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Old 12-04-2009, 08:10 PM
 
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....
Sure you could learn life skills later in life.. after screwing up your finances and what not. But I thought the whole point of this thread was to find out what life skills everyone thought their children should learn BEFORE they left home so they were not negatively impacted as young adults. Not knowing how to skate is not going to hurt them as an adult.
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Old 12-04-2009, 08:19 PM
 
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I think it's hard to function and/or survive without a sense of fun and adventure. The skipping stones and juggling were supposed to be fun suggestions. It's too bad they seem to have riled some people.
Many, many people function without a sense of fun or adventure. That said, I actually agree with you to the extent that I'd hate to see any of my kids lacking those things. But, it's very, very possible to have a sense of fun and adventure without it being tied to any one (or two) particular skills/abilities. And, if you're referring to me, I'm not even remotely "riled". I just think they're a very strange thing to refer to as "basic". DS1 is a very, very social, friendly kid. He doesn't know a single other student in his high school who juggles - but plenty of them have fun and are adventurous.

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True, true. People can learn any skill - laundry, cooking, home repair, budgeting - if they think they are missing out. They don't have to learn them before they move out. It just means they're better prepared if they do. Just like learning a few things like swimming, skating and cycling can help them prepare if they find themselves on a beach, or invited to a skating party, or living in a town with terrible public transit.
I guess I'm not being clear. We're talking about basic life skills people need to function and "should" learn before moving out of the house. Laundry, cooking, etc. are basic skills people need to function. Skating and cycling aren't. Yes - they can add to people's lives - but that's the point. They're additional - they aren't basic.

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I know many people who travel all the time. YMMV
What's your point? Many people travel all the time...but many people don't. People don't need to know how to fill out customs forms or register for a hotel in order to function. (I'm 41. The first time I registered at a hotel was in...2006.)

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If you've lived in Asia, then using chopsticks is pretty basic. There's about a billion people who agree with me on this one
Okay - but most of the people here don't live in Asia. I don't get how you can quibble with aniT posting things "specific to Portland", and then bring up something that's only a basic in a completely different culture and part of the world. (I can use chopsticks, but not well. DS1 is pretty good at it.)

I have no problem with any of the things you've posted. I just can't see any way in which most of them can be considered basic, when so many people function just fine without them.

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Old 12-04-2009, 08:24 PM
 
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I don't even think I was posting something specific to Portland. I don't think ice rinks are common enough, on the west coast at least, that ice skating would be considered a life skill in any way shape or form. Also the poster just said skating. I thought she was talking about roller skating.
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Old 12-04-2009, 08:37 PM
 
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I agree with most of what has been posted.

Especially cleaning -- and doing a thorough job the first time! I've worked with so many people who put in such a sorry effort on cleaning things. It drives.me.nuts. Like sweeping well before mopping (hi, DH!), correctly cleaning a toilet, loading a dishwasher, etc.

What to do in ambiguous situations -- talking about things like drinking, sex, peer pressure, being in a scary situation when drinking, carjacking, etc. Basic safety stuff. Being "aware" of surroundings, etc.

Recognizing dangerous plants and insects/animals -- and what to do if you've been bitten/stung/etc. Basic first aid safety/fire safety/earthquakes, etc.

I would definitely add navigating an airport. I had to do as a very young person and was glad I'd been introduced to the concept of connecting flights, etc.

ALLLL the financial stuff, for certain.

etc. etc. etc.
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Old 12-04-2009, 08:46 PM
 
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This is one of the most usefu threads I've read here in a while!!! THANKS!
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Old 12-04-2009, 08:51 PM
 
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I would definitely add navigating an airport. I had to do as a very young person and was glad I'd been introduced to the concept of connecting flights, etc.
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.

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Old 12-04-2009, 08:52 PM
 
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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. 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.

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.

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Old 12-04-2009, 08:59 PM
 
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Good thread.

Along with how to stand up for yourself and things of that nature, I'm going to add: How to ask questions of people in authority.
A couple of cases in point:
Recently an 19 yo was trying to get on a plane on T-giving day, but the only ID she had was student and she couldn't check in all. She was getting ready to cry. When I travelled with my daughter for the first time and she needed a passport I asked ALL kinds of questions of what I'd need to get her on the plane.

Going to the doctor and asking a LOT of questions about what they've just told you.

How to ask what's included when you sign a contract or buy something. Like if the travel agent says "breakfast is included-" it's asking yourself if you REALLY know what that means? Are we talking cold bagels and cereal? Or cooked eggs and bacon?

You kind of learn of sales people and corporations present something in the best possible light and can gloss over the particulars. It's kind of skill to latch onto that and go a-ha - What DOES that mean? This for teachers and jobs too when someone gives you vague instructions. It's comparing what you know about something to what they know. What does "clean-out the walk-in freezer" mean anyway?

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.

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.

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.

Third generation WOHM. I work by choice.
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Old 12-04-2009, 09:00 PM
 
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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.
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Old 12-04-2009, 09:08 PM
 
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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.

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Old 12-04-2009, 09:14 PM
 
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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".

Quote:
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.

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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.

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Old 12-04-2009, 09:16 PM
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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.
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Old 12-04-2009, 09:16 PM
 
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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.
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Old 12-04-2009, 09:20 PM
 
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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.

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Old 12-04-2009, 09:32 PM
 
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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....
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Old 12-04-2009, 10:02 PM
 
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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.

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Old 12-04-2009, 10:07 PM
 
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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.

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Old 12-04-2009, 10:11 PM
 
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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.
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.
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