Life Skills 2016

At a recent dinner, my friend bemoaned that her son, now a college freshman, never learned to write in cursive because his school district stopped teaching it to save money. She’s frustrated that her son can’t read the letters his grandmother sends handwritten in cursive.

That led me to think about life skills. I’m not sure writing cursive is one, but reading letters from a relative is. I solicited comments through email and social media, without specifying whether I was looking for concrete answers, like tying one’s shoes, or abstract ones, like being kind and humble.

Of course the times change what’s considered life skills. Using a computer is a given in 2016; yet I guess I’m old enough to believe that some skills are necessary in case there’s no Internet!

I’ve narrowed my list of essential concrete skills to: (in no particular order of importance): swimming, driving, including a stick shift; touch typing, basic sewing and cooking, first aid, using chopsticks, and speaking even a tiny smidgen of a foreign language. You never know when you’ll need these and some could get you out of an emergency.

Others offered: basic tool use, doing laundry, reading maps, changing tires, personal finance, hunting, fishing, finding fresh drinking water, building a fire and finding shelter, stopping a running toilet and how to charge a car battery.


The abstract answers ran the gamut, including references to Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy as written in his 1943 “A Theory of Human Motivation.” imgres

Among the answers were: building strong relationships with people, remembering conversations, being a good guest and host, writing thank you notes, a sense of humor, resilience, persistence, courage, adaptability, self-control, critical thinking, and forgiveness.

If you think of others in either category, please let me know!




















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12 Responses to Life Skills 2016

  1. We don’t have much need of it anymore Lisa, but I think I would like to know how to make a fire without matches or lighter, what you can and cannot eat in the wild, how to build a basic shelter, etc.

    And in today’s world I think it would be good to know how to de-escalate a situation and self-defense techniques wouldn’t hurt either.


  2. Colline says:

    Teachers are expected to use technology in the classroom and help students use it. Something had to go to make time for this and unfortunately cursive is one of those things.


  3. Drjcwash says:

    I really had to think about these. Thank you.


  4. If only there were a way to teach common sense.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. My kids had to start doing their laundry in 7th grade, no help by 8th. It’s amazing how many times they’ve told me that this skill paid off… as they watched their dorm mates panic. Love this list, Lisa!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Love this! And I forgot about changing a tire. My daughter’s friend went to Williams and learned how to change a tire which I doubt I could do now even if I knew how!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Nor should you be doing it! Call AAA.


  8. Just yesterday, a 20-something (college graduate) asked if anybody in the room knew how to read cursive writing. That was the very first time I had heard such a thing. Your post here is now the second. I had no idea that this was the state of things.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Heather says:

    As a mom of two girls, ages 6 and 11, there are many, many things I want my children to know. But the funny thing is, those that are most important to me to pass along aren’t in the text books. They are the lessons I learned from my mother, grandmother, and great grandmother. These are being lost from one generation to the next and it’s not because teaching standards. I think it is important to lead by example, continually instruct, and immerse them within previous generations as often as possible.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Yes, nothing like the wisdom of our elders to inspire the younger generations.


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