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.”
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!