I am afraid that we, as adults, have not fully prepared our teens to be adults. I am more and more aware the we have not created Generation XYZ. We have created Generation Lacking. I’m not talking about lacking in material things. In fact, having so many material things has contributed to a lack of real life skills… skills that could save them in adulthood, even from a impending Zombie invasion.
Some to the most popular television series for young adults and teens today focus on what would happen if society were to face utter destruction. Zombies. How would you survive if you had to hunt or gather or grow your own food, find fresh water, live without electricity or all your electronic devises? I know I would be fine. I don’t mean to brag, but I’ve got skills. The truth is that most of the kids who love these shows do not possess mundane skills such as balance a bank account or creating and then keeping a budget… and there is no hope for extraordinary skills to survive that Zombie invasion.
I’ve been told that kids and teens living in this computer age are smarter than ever before. I get it. My 5 year old grand son has to explain the TV remote to me. My teenage has to explain to me how to use Instagram. Wi-Fi and 4G seem to be embedded into their DNA. Kids these days seem to breath (or is it their life’s blood?) the internet. However, these Digital Age kids can’t seem to figure out how to boil an egg; how to address an envelope; how to manager their own emotions. Seriously. You might as well have asking them to go to the moon.
Basic life skills are on the endangered list. Fewer and fewer teens and young adults can do simple tasks like sorting laundry, ironing a shirt (the kids at school often look like they slept in their clothes), basic cleaning skills, a budget, advocating for themselves, or setting an alarm for themselves. Very few teens or young adults can perform basic car maintenance, basic first aid, or create a menu of a balanced healthy diet. These young people, ready to “storm the castle” of adulting may feel comfortable putting themselves “out there” online, in a text, on SnapChat, etc., yet find themselves incapable of small talk, critical thinking and problem solving.
Forget lazy, self-centered or cocky. The truth? We have created a generation, or maybe 2, of absolutely helpless people when is comes to basic life and workplace skills. We are increasingly moving toward “doing for” our kids rather than “teaching how.”
How many kids today know how to patch a hole in their jeans or sew on a button or plan and then prepare a meal from scratch? It’s quicker to run to the mall and buy new jeans (that have pre-made holes for far too much money. But that’s a different story). It’s more convenient to pop in a microwave dinner or hit the drive thru where your meal is 3 minutes and 20 feet away. You don’t even have to stand up!
They are smart. They are full of promise. Their skill set is most often based in technology. That is great and all, however, what about basic skills? You know the ones. Skills that can get you through a power outage, a budget crunch, or stressful moments with other people. What about skills concerning daily tasks that require a person to be patient, to persevere and to think outside the box as they problem solve?
Back in my day (I laugh to myself that I just said that) children played an essential role in the family. When I was a kid, my brothers and sisters helped my parents care for the land, water trees, cared for chickens, helped in the kitchen and more. We even helped my parent build their log house.
When did a child’s role become less of a contributor and more of a receiver? I must admit. I may have contributed to this issue with my own children. oops! I have to admit that big ticket items once worked and saved for by the family (computers, TVs, smart phones) became Christmas presents and birthday gifts.
When I went to junior and senior high school there were required classes in Home Economics and Family Life, metals and wood shop, and automotive classes. What happened? Why did we give up teaching life skills?
More and more college graduates are having a hard time finding and keeping a job. We need to be teaching these kids the basics of shaking hands, conveying positive body language, grooming, the art of conversation, dinner etiquette and managing personal relationships. More and more young adults find they can’t manager their time or their money. More and more kids are graduating from high school unable to make appointments for themselves. More and more kids leave home and cannot figure out how to find an apartment, pay their taxes, pay their bills, fill out a job application, or do the basic things we all need to do as adults to not only survived, but contribute to our communities.
I’m not making this up!
Or this post I found when I did a search of the internet…
I actually found 18 pages on Google of adulting fails.
So… take a quick mental assessment of your kids’ basic life skill knowledge. Are you preparing them for “the Real World?” So much of today’s world deals with technology; but much of it doesn’t. Can they do it? Can they do the laundry? Without ruining their clothing? (sorting whites from colors, measuring detergent, pick water temperature?) Make a sandwich? Chop vegetables for a salad? Wash dishes without a dishwasher? Load a dish washer? Work with a sibling to wash dishes? Clear the table? Put their stuff away? Put the leftovers” away? Make lunch? Shop for groceries? Stay within a budget? Use the post office to mail an actual letter? Address an actual envelope? Return items to the store? Count change? Be on time? Fulfill commitments? Pay a bill? Write a check? Read a legal contract (such as an apartment rental contract)?
I think it’s time to step up the lessons on adulting. It’s time to teach kids the “how to” of life skills. Teaching life skills will increase my kids capabilities and they will be able to move out of the house with confidence! There will be no more of that crippling anxiety that can lead to procrastination.
Life skill training will positively impact my kids ability to apply for jobs. It may even give them the experience employers are looking for!
Life skill training will teach valuable lessons in how to recover from mistakes. Sometimes we burn cookies. Changing the tire can be tricky and lug nuts hard to move. Life skill training teaches the importance of getting back up and trying again. It may even teach us to try something different next time. Making mistakes is okay. It’s even better to learn from those mistakes. Now that it a real life skill!
I think this is a win/win! As my kids learn life skills such as cleaning their bedroom (I mean really clean it, not hide it in the closest), they will learn to value their belongings. They will learn self-respect that comes from taking care of self; of taking care of business.
So… look out kids! Mom is on a new soap box/band wagon! A new chore chart is coming this weekend!
Now… If I could just get the high school to teach Adulting 101 to seniors!
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