Saturday, August 20, 2016

Basic Life Skills

There are basic skills everyone should teach their children so they can take care of themselves. By the time someone is a teenager they should be able to pretty much take care of day to day necessities. That includes minor things that go wrong around the house or being able to change a flat tire.

I'm of the opinion that kid should have some other skills: how to start a campfire, handle small boats, pitch a tent, first aid, gun safety -you know, the basics.

Today I was amazed at someone at the local amusement park. We were having a fun day with the kids and grandkids. My daughter informed the rest room attendant, who appeared to be about 17, that one of the toilets was plugged. The attendant had to call her supervisor. She had no idea where to even begin. The supervisor was less than impressed.

The boss said, “I'll show you one time, but I expect you to deal with this from now on.”

It's not a pleasant job, but it's a necessary one. Sooner or later it will happen to you. Protecting your children from unpleasant jobs does them no favors. Life has a way of throwing challenges in our path. Better to have some experience fixing the small things before you have to deal with big things.

On an even more serious note is how Americans tend to protect their children from the reality of death. When I went back to college I had to take a variety of courses to graduate. So I was about 40 when I took a class on death and dying. As a former firefighter I'd seen more than my fair share.

One does not expect the average American kid to deal with that sort of thing. I hope to heck they don't anyway. However, college aged young adults should have at least been to a few open casket funerals. Most of them had not had to deal directly with anything more troubling than the death of a pet.

Guess I'm getting old and cranky. My daughter told me many of her classmates couldn't even boil water. Wonder how their kids are going to turn out? Heck, my 9 year old grandkids can cook meals and bake cookies.



  1. Sadly, a lot of parents bought into the you-should-be-the-child's-friend philosophy. At times, my kids were very unhappy with their old-fashion mother but in the end they function in this world.

    1. They want to be friends with their kids, which is fine, but first they have to be parents. Sometimes as a parent you have to make your kids unhappy in the short term so they'll have a better life in the long term.

    2. Sometimes as a friend you have to tell a harsh truth too. True friends will understand this.
      Kids wrapped up in cotton wool will not know how to traverse the bumps in life's roads. I reckon all first world kids should spend a mandatory 6 months in the developing world; collecting water & firewood daily, hunting / scrounging their food, preparing said food and going without a meal at least once weekly. Life is harsh out there in the real world. Soft pampered nancies struggle with this concept..

    3. That last thing I'm going to do is tell someone how to raise their kids. If they want my opinion that's another matter.

      At at a bare minimum I believe kids need more contact with nature.

  2. My step son had never been to a funeral until his father died when he was eleven. Going to other funerals wouldn't have lessened the pain, but it might have eased the shock of the situation a little.

    1. Eventually people run into the cold hard realities of life. A little exposure at younger ages can be a good thing as long as they aren't overwhelmed.

  3. Boy Scout Handbook. Need I say more?