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

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#1 of 183 Old 12-04-2009, 03:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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DH and I were talking about this the other day. We were reminiscing about how appalled we were that so many kids couldn't do laundry when we were in college. I also know a girl that ruined Easy Mac (she put the noodles in the bowl, put the sauce packet on top still sealed, and put the whole thing in the microwave for 5mins) We were discussing the basic things we want to teach our children before they leave home.

Our list included:

- Laundry How to sort and complete laundry according to each type of clothing.

- Ironing (I can't do this. My mother was obsessive about ironing everything)

- Cooking How to follow a recipe. I also think it would benefit to be able to make a few, simple, things from scratch. (Scrambled eggs were the first thing I learned to make)

- Sewing Basic button sewing and how to quick fix something in a pinch

-Cleaning How to wash dishes WITHOUT a dishwasher. Basic cleaning like vacuuming, mopping, etc...


I know I'm forgetting a few...


What do you think?

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#2 of 183 Old 12-04-2009, 03:17 PM
 
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Social Skills. How to talk to and deal with people politely in day to day life. Man, I've known some who apparently never learned that. I'm not talking about being the most popular person in the world... I'm talking about having the courtesy to open doors for people, and not cuss out old ladies at 7-11.

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#3 of 183 Old 12-04-2009, 03:20 PM
 
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I think budgeting is a big one. My parents started us off early by giving us an allowance and requiring that we put a certain percentage in a jar for "savings."

Also, I think learning how to grocery shop is another important thing to know. For instance, my mom would send us to the store with a list and coupons and certain amount of money. We had to learn what were good prices for certain items -- produce, for example. Learning how to follow a list and be mindful of prices has certainly helped me.

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#4 of 183 Old 12-04-2009, 03:26 PM
 
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How to pay a bill. Like how long before the due date you should send it, what to do if it is going to be late.

Car maintnance- Oil changes, tires, breaks, just when to look at them and where to go really.

grocery shopping- how long meat can stay in the fridge before spoiling, same with veggies an fruits.

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#5 of 183 Old 12-04-2009, 03:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Social Skills. How to talk to and deal with people politely in day to day life. Man, I've known some who apparently never learned that. I'm not talking about being the most popular person in the world... I'm talking about having the courtesy to open doors for people, and not cuss out old ladies at 7-11.
I agree. My ex was like that. He would play his loud (vulgar) rap music with the windows down. I would turn it down when we would stop for gas or something (especially when there were children around) and he would get mad at me.
I also think that (especially boys) should know to open doors for women and be willing to give up their seat. I can't tell you the number of times I was grateful when a man did that for me when I was big and pregnant! I thanked a family because they instructed their sons to get up too (so the men were all standing together) (they were using it as a teaching moment)

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I think budgeting is a big one. My parents started us off early by giving us an allowance and requiring that we put a certain percentage in a jar for "savings."

Also, I think learning how to grocery shop is another important thing to know. For instance, my mom would send us to the store with a list and coupons and certain amount of money. We had to learn what were good prices for certain items -- produce, for example. Learning how to follow a list and be mindful of prices has certainly helped me.
Balancing a checkbook and budgeting! Yes!! Basic shopping and price comparison! I had a shopping problem in college because my parents had always controlled my money and would give me money "just because" and whenever I wanted to go shopping...

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#6 of 183 Old 12-04-2009, 03:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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How to pay a bill. Like how long before the due date you should send it, what to do if it is going to be late.

Car maintnance- Oil changes, tires, breaks, just when to look at them and where to go really.

grocery shopping- how long meat can stay in the fridge before spoiling, same with veggies an fruits.
I lump bill paying with budgeting and finance...

I'm still bad about car stuff. I just go by what the book the dealer gave us says... and I can't tell what's wrong with it if it makes a funny noise.

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#7 of 183 Old 12-04-2009, 03:38 PM
 
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A bit of self-discipline-- how to get yourself up and out of the house on time in the morning, and keep your commitments, without somebody having to nag you or manage your time for you. How to keep and manage a to-do list, for example, and keep track of your own appointments, and overcome the urge to just blow things off and sleep in.

MIL failed to teach DH this stuff, and it's taken us twelve years of marriage to make up for that failure.

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#8 of 183 Old 12-04-2009, 03:39 PM
 
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Budgeting and time management. My brother is about to flunk out of his first year of college due to a lack of those skills. Each of those could have more specifics like grocery shopping (i.e knowing real good deals vs. seemingly good ones) and utlizing your resources (knowing how to make do without mom and dad ).

There is a college in my town that has a life skills course available for freshmen. Goes over everything you'd need to know, down to home management. It's a popular one here. My sister and I were talking about it the other day actually. So sad what kids don't know these days (and I'm not even old enough to claim my age group doens't fall into that mindset )

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#9 of 183 Old 12-04-2009, 03:39 PM
 
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Yeah... my mom taught me all the other stuff mentioned in here so far, but I'm helpless with a car. I can check the oil, power steering fluid, and water, and I can put gas in them. That's it.

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#10 of 183 Old 12-04-2009, 03:40 PM
 
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How to pay a bill. Like how long before the due date you should send it, what to do if it is going to be late.

Car maintnance- Oil changes, tires, breaks, just when to look at them and where to go really.

grocery shopping- how long meat can stay in the fridge before spoiling, same with veggies an fruits.
I agree with these, with the caveat that the second doesn't always apply. I've only started learning those things in the last few years, because I didn't drive until I was 37. There's very limited value in learning to look after a car when you don't have one, aren't getting one, and can't drive one. I suspect if I'd learned that stuff before I left home, I'd be re-learning it now, because I never had any need of it.

Budgeting, budgeting, budgeting. HUGE! People need to know how to balance a chequebook, keep track of outstanding cheques, what their fees are, etc. I've met adults (young ones, admittedly) who didn't even know they'd pay a fee for bouncing a cheque! I had one guy, at about 24, tell me he didn't know how a cheque could bounce, because the bank took the money out right away. I pointed out that the bank doesn't know the money has to come out, until they get the cheque. He told me felt stupid after I pointed that out, but he'd actually never thought about it/realized it.


In the 21 century, I think elementary schools should teach "Cabling" - explaining to students how to connect all their various computer and "home entertainment system" stuff. (Okay - I'm being facetoius, but it does seem to be morphing into a basic life skill.)

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#11 of 183 Old 12-04-2009, 03:42 PM
 
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In the 21 century, I think elementary schools should teach "Cabling" - explaining to students how to connect all their various computer and "home entertainment system" stuff. (Okay - I'm being facetoius, but it does seem to be morphing into a basic life skill.)
ROTFL, if only they'd taught that in elementary school in the 60's. My mom is HOPELESS with cords.

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#12 of 183 Old 12-04-2009, 03:44 PM
 
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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.

It also shocks me how many adults from two-parent homes I know that never learned to do basic home repairs or yard work because their dads always did it when they were growing up. So now I know adult people with their own houses who can't maintain a mowed lawn or a garden, don't know what poison ivy looks like, and can't change a doorknob or stop a toilet from running. My family was not that way and my dad had me help him do everything around the house so I would know how to do it when I grew up!
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#13 of 183 Old 12-04-2009, 03:45 PM
 
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DH and I have also had the same conversation in regards to teaching our boys about life. We want to make sure that they are somewhat prepared in life to be able to function without us.

Some of things that we hope to impart over the next few yrs are:

1. How to budget for groceries so that you have affordable nutritious meals
(I remember in college spending all my $ to make a recipe and then starve for 2 wks because I used all my grocery $ on that 1 recipe)

2. basic working knowledge on how to do things like change a flat,oil, windshield wiper fluid and check tire pressure. Basic car maintainence. Plus who to call for emergencies like a tow and such.

3. manners. Were really big on this. I dont mean so they are little mr manners or anything. but polite people who know common courtesy and manners is appropriate. To know not ot eat with their mouth full or how to use a fork. Maybe its because were from the south but were floored at the "rudeness" and lack of manners on some people. That would include phone skills as well.

Im interested in seeing what others say

4.
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#14 of 183 Old 12-04-2009, 03:45 PM
 
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Everything already mentioned. Plus dh is really stressing that our children will know how to take apart and clean a computer, basic (and some not so basic) trouble shooting. He's a computer geek He's taking 2 wks off at Christmas time (does it every year) and is planning on taking apart one of the computers with our 5-year-old to get her used to it (or something like that.)

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#15 of 183 Old 12-04-2009, 03:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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In the 21 century, I think elementary schools should teach "Cabling" - explaining to students how to connect all their various computer and "home entertainment system" stuff. (Okay - I'm being facetoius, but it does seem to be morphing into a basic life skill.)
I agree, being proficient with technology is evolving into a life skill. Thankfully, my computer was color coded (the cord with the green plug goes into the green hole of the same size)

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#16 of 183 Old 12-04-2009, 03:48 PM
 
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This goes in the category of finances and budgeting, but hasn't been mentioned specifically. I think everyone should have a basic understanding of credit and managing debt. For a lot of kids going off to college, I think it's really easy to sign off on the student loans offered by the financial aid office without really understanding what you're getting yourself into. I think kids should also know about responsible use of credit cards too. I know so many people who got themselves into huge credit card messes when they were young simply because they had no clue what they were doing (it's not FREE money...you have to pay it off!).

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#17 of 183 Old 12-04-2009, 03:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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.

It also shocks me how many adults from two-parent homes I know that never learned to do basic home repairs or yard work because their dads always did it when they were growing up. So now I know adult people with their own houses who can't maintain a mowed lawn or a garden, don't know what poison ivy looks like, and can't change a doorknob or stop a toilet from running. My family was not that way and my dad had me help him do everything around the house so I would know how to do it when I grew up!
My parents refused to let me get my driver's license until I was 18 (and only then because I was working and they were going out of town) I didn't really DRIVE until DH and I were together (he didn't have a license because he couldn't afford insurance) I was in college and had to overcome anxiety behind the wheel because I had never really done it.
I also agree with basic yard work and maintenance. Now, I don't know what poison ivy looks like (something about 3 leaves right?) but I can work a lawn mower and do basic home repairs. Actually, when DH and I lived with a couple of guys in college *I* was the one that fixed the toilet when the inside of the handle part broke.

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#18 of 183 Old 12-04-2009, 03:50 PM
 
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It also shocks me how many adults from two-parent homes I know that never learned to do basic home repairs or yard work because their dads always did it when they were growing up.
I guess were lucky because my FIL was a very hands on type of person who made DH help him. He has said that he hated it growing up always helping his dad out but you know what he now knows how to do so much stuff. He says looking back on it he now gets what he father was doing. He now makes the boys listen and "help" (there still too young to really help) but he wants to make sure they know random house stuff as well.

some random things DH has learned from his father that has helped us

drywall, planting trees,and how to do basic plumbing repairs.
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#19 of 183 Old 12-04-2009, 03:52 PM
 
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In the 21 century, I think elementary schools should teach "Cabling" - explaining to students how to connect all their various computer and "home entertainment system" stuff. (Okay - I'm being facetoius, but it does seem to be morphing into a basic life skill.)
My mom used to call my oldest brother up while he was in school and ask for help. There was a time when my youngest brothers (twins) had shoved a sandwhich in the VCR. My mom was able to take it apart and get it all cleaned out but when it came to hooking it back up to the tv she got all turned around. She called my brother, in 3rd grade at the time, and had him explain it over the phone.

I'm a DIYer so maybe my thinking on it is different than most but I too am surprised at how little adults know how to do. And not even things that require experience but no brainer stuff. I have a friend who constantly texts me to ask how to do something (recently got one on how to clean up throw up out of a car). We're the same age! Only difference is upbringing. Her parents have a maid (for no real reason...something her mom admits to) and have always been of the mindset it's easier to pay someone else to do it. I grew up with both my parents being very DIY out of preference and neccessity. Seems to be more important to know how to text and picture message than it is to know that baking soda can remove nasty smells from carpet.

YES!!! on the credit!! The school my brother is at offers a student credit card and he thinks it's a great deal. He called to ask my sister about it and only got 2 or 3 sentences into the terms and my sister was basically choking on her tounge over how horrible it really is.

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#20 of 183 Old 12-04-2009, 03:56 PM
 
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Cooking and money management definitely top my list. Mostly because it drives me nuts when people waste money by eating out all the time.

Some other things that are important to me:

Health - as in healthy eating (knowing what is good for you and what isn't), teaching the advantages of breastfeeding, exercising regularly, etc.

Household repairs - simple things like how to use a screwdriver or paint the walls

Chores - we plan on having DD do regular chores so she'll have to learn how to laundry, the dishes, etc.

Computer skills - although this one will probably be learned in school but if not she'll learn that at home too
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#21 of 183 Old 12-04-2009, 03:57 PM
 
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It occurs to me that even though I think budgeting is huge, I need to work on this with ds1. He gets an allowance, and knows he has to work within it for certain things. He also gets a clothing allowance in September (back-to-school money from my in-laws and from us). He may get a pack of socks or boxers from us, at some point in the year, but he's on his own for clothes, other than that (and gifts, of course - MIL usually gives him a pair of jeans at Christmas). But, I really haven't talked to him much about budgeting for food. He has come grocery shopping with me - probably hundreds of times, although not so much in the last 3-4 years - but I don't know how much he's picked up by osmosis. Maybe when we get back to meal planning (started doing it in earnest in January, and it fell apart again when we had dd2), I'll pull him in a little, to let him know how it works.

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#22 of 183 Old 12-04-2009, 03:59 PM
 
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Ok so once again, not a mom but had awesome parents who taught me a bunch of skills that has made me successful since I moved out three years ago.

Money: paying bills, saving, investing (even if there isn't money to invest, learning how is important), budgeting, how to fill out basic tax forms, banking, check writing, checkbook balancing and even if you (general you) don't use credit cards it is really valuable to know how they work and how easy it is to get into a ton of debt using credit. General money management skills are so incredibly important, but so many of my peers are lacking these skills and I see fallout from this all the time.

Food: knowing how to cook at least basics, good nutrition (even if I don't always do the best at eating healthy I know how to and do a relatively good job), and grocery shopping (this goes under money too I suppose).

Organizational skills: scheduling, keeping a calendar, learning how to manage and prioritize time, keeping a filing cabinet (or box) for important documents and know what is important enough to keep.

Laundry (I don't think I really need to say more here)

cleaning: dusting, vacuuming, mopping floors, and how to clean a bathroom, (you wouldn't believe the number of people who have never ever cleaned a toilet and don't have a clue how)

basic repairs: how to spackle (spelling) the nail holes in your apartment walls is pretty important, how to use a drill, stop a toilet from running or unclog it, i'm sure there's more but these are just a few.

car maintenance is definitely a plus but at the very minimum it's really important to be able to jump-start a car, check tire pressure, and change a tire.

Basic legal rights are also important now I've never even been pulled over for speeding but since I know my rights and what I could be risking if something were to happen I feel like I'm better prepared to make good decisions about the situations I put myself in and the people I choose to hang around with.

When it comes to social skills everyone has said a lot of really important things, but for me the most important thing my parents taught me was communication skills and especially how to politely stand up for myself. This has been so important when dealing with everyone from roommates, friends, professors, and maintenance workers to dealing with the utility companies, landlords and people in administrative positions whether it's at school, or elsewhere.

Oh and one more thing, well maybe it's two, healthy coping skills for relieving stress and when that fails and I'm struggling to just ask for help.
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#23 of 183 Old 12-04-2009, 04:03 PM
 
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I think budgeting is a big one. My parents started us off early by giving us an allowance and requiring that we put a certain percentage in a jar for "savings."

Also, I think learning how to grocery shop is another important thing to know. For instance, my mom would send us to the store with a list and coupons and certain amount of money. We had to learn what were good prices for certain items -- produce, for example. Learning how to follow a list and be mindful of prices has certainly helped me.
I think both of these are GREAT!

I was never taught budgeting. We were never given an allowance, and I never had a savings. I am terrible with budgeting and we suffer financially for it. (my DH claims to be able to budget but he doens't want to.. and he will just not pay bills or will pay the whole thing without making sure the money is there to cover 100% of it so I don't let him)

Grocery shopping.. my mom is a big one to walk down the isles and just pick up what she wanted. She never had menus or lists and every thing we ate came out of a box or can.

I also struggle with this.

I think my mother was raised in a world where my grandmother went in the yard and killed a chicken for dinner and they grew their own food. Enter the 70's where just about anything can be had at the store and she figured these skills would never be needed again. So she didn't use or pass them on.
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#24 of 183 Old 12-04-2009, 04:05 PM
 
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Phone skills. How to make an appointment, order food, etc.

Plus everything mentioned.

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#25 of 183 Old 12-04-2009, 04:05 PM
 
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I agree, being proficient with technology is evolving into a life skill. Thankfully, my computer was color coded (the cord with the green plug goes into the green hole of the same size)
I'm pretty good on the computer stuff. However, we have a DVD/VCR player, a DVD player (we use the other one for playing CDs and for VHS, but it doesn't work very well for DVDs), a Wii, a GameCube, an Atari simulator and...some other unit, all plugged into our TV. We have a switchbox, and we have to have the DVD/VCR and the TV set to certain settings for VHS, and different settings for DVD. I'm okay for a movie, but if dd1 wants to give the Wii a try (she occasionally boxes on it *sigh*), she has to wait for dh or ds1, because I have no idea how the consoles work.

I'm oddly weak on home repair. I learned lots of it when I was younger. (My ex and I painted my whole house when I was 18 - my parents were putting it up for rent, and we made some extra money by working cheap. I've rewired a plug at school. I can change lightbulbs and wield a screwdriver and hammer. I took "industrial education" - shop - in 8th grade, and have even laid out a circuit board, and done soldering. I've hammered in nails and helped rip up old carpets. I've unplugged toilets, and even taken apart the drain for my bathroom sink, in search of a tooth. I've done lots of this stuff.) However, as an adult, I've been renting for almost 20 years. Most of this is done by the landlords. DH is really good on it, and he moved out of his house much more recently than I did, so he has a tendency to just do it. I need to learn again. I hate feeling dependent, and we both prefer to do the little stuff ourselves.

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#26 of 183 Old 12-04-2009, 04:05 PM
 
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Social Skills. How to talk to and deal with people politely in day to day life. Man, I've known some who apparently never learned that. I'm not talking about being the most popular person in the world... I'm talking about having the courtesy to open doors for people, and not cuss out old ladies at 7-11.
Yeah to that. I've had so many nice people help me with small kindnesses when I've been out and about with both kids, and it's almost always someone over age 50 taking the time to open doors and such.

“War is peace.
Freedom is slavery.
Ignorance is strength.”
― George Orwell, 1984
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#27 of 183 Old 12-04-2009, 04:11 PM
 
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Basic health: good diet, exercise. How to deal with a cold, mild fever, bruises and cuts.


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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.
How to get from home to where you need to go on a regular basis without a car. How to walk, how to take public transit, how to ride a bike and plan a route.
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#28 of 183 Old 12-04-2009, 04:12 PM
 
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Yeah to that. I've had so many nice people help me with small kindnesses when I've been out and about with both kids, and it's almost always someone over age 50 taking the time to open doors and such.
I've always held doors, even in my teens. My ex and I used to get funny looks from people, because we'd be at the mall or something with our long hair, heavy make-up (errr...just me), denim vests (his with an Iron Maiden: Number of the Beast backpatch, and mine with a hand-drawn, horned, flaming skull), studded wristbands, etc., but we were holding doors for people with canes or pushing strollers or whatever. It seemed to cause a mental disconnect for a lot of people.

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#29 of 183 Old 12-04-2009, 04:12 PM
 
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Oh and how insurance works (deductibles, what types there are, who needs what) and how to deal with issues relating to insurance. This has been especially important to know for health insurance, but also for car insurance, and renters insurance.

Basic first-aid skills (and dealing with illness) are pretty important too, even if it's just how to disinfect a cut, and decide when you really actually need to go to the hospital, or if rest and tea will fix everything.

How to fill out an application and present yourself for a job/school/anything else interview has been pretty useful too.

So many life skills to learn, I'm a little amazed writing out this list that I actually have most if not all of these skills, I'll have to thank my mom and dad.
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#30 of 183 Old 12-04-2009, 04:13 PM
 
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How to get from home to where you need to go on a regular basis without a car. How to walk, how to take public transit, how to ride a bike and plan a route.
This. I had so many people who were stunned that I was a grown, married woman with a full-time job and a child, and I didn't drive. I was equally stunned at how many people couldn't seem to find their way around their own community without a car...and I'm not talking about the kind of area that's laid out to make it almost impossible to function without a car. Vancouver is generally very transit-friendly.

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