Last Chance to Learn Stuff

So, we went to a graduation party this weekend and it reminded me that, though we’re not there yet in my family, we’re going to be there alarmingly soon. Like six years from now! That might sound like a long time, but consider what happened to the last six years of your kids’ lives. Where did they go? Have you looked under the rug?

I’m not panicking. But it brought to mind the question of what skills I would like them to have when they are ready to leave the house and go into the great world (or at least across the great town). And I’m not thinking about values or anything deep like that (another post did that). I’m thinking about things that you need to know how to do when you’re on your own.

Like many modern parents, I asked the internet for help. Turns out this is a fruitful topic, as there are many, many takes (20,700,000 to be exact) on the essential skills for graduates. Here’s a good one. And here is another. And here are two more. They’re all different! If I were to string them all together it would just be too much. How can there be so much variation in what an “essential skill” entails?

But wait. After copying down the four lists to which I linked above, there were none I exactly disagreed with, and it was too hard to boil them down to a single Top Ten. Apparently we need to know a lot of things.

Next, I marked the items that appeared on multiple lists (though some had slightly different wording). Here’s what I found:

Cooking: all 4 lists

Laundry: 3 lists

Auto maintenance: 2 lists (2 others had “how to pump gas” but this is Oregon)

Banking/budget: 2 lists

Social skills/etiquette: 2 lists

Advocate for self: 3 lists

Discernment/judgement of character ie “creep alarm”: 2 lists (interesting!)

So there’s our Top Seven Essential Skills by Metascore™.

I wondered if some of the items could really be taught, or if they had to be gained by hard experience; the big example was “how to tell love from infatuation.” Good luck with that!