Sunday, November 3, 2013

Here's the Job

Parenting is a complex job, no question. You're trying to get to know a little person who keeps changing. You're trying to help her grow into a capable adult who is competent, secure, and unique. There aren't really rules for parenting. Every day is different.

However, there are certain things I believe every child should learn before she is launched into the world on her own. Here's a list of those things:

  • Sew enough to fix a loose button or torn seam
  • Use a hammer, screwdriver, wrench and drill 
  • Assemble Ikea furniture
  • Cook a basic meal, including grocery shopping
  • Read a recipe
  • Do laundry
  • Clean a house
  • Transplant a seedling
  • Drive a car
  • Swim
  • Balance a checkbook
  • Change a diaper
  • Write a thank-you note
  • Read a map
  • Ride public transportation
  • Take a taxi
  • Iron a shirt
  • Care for a pet
Updates from comments (click here for sources):
  • Change a tire
  • Pump gas
  • Vote
  • Make a budget
  • Read
Of course there are people in the world who can't learn these things, but these are the skills I think adults need to take care of themselves. If you can do these things, you aren't dependent on other people. You may choose to outsource any or all of these tasks, but if you know how to do them, you have the option to downsize, to live on a budget, to be on your own. And that means freedom.

Don't get me wrong--I hope that Boo grows up to be prosperous, and that her life is full of love and people upon whom she can depend. But everyone I know enjoys doing some of these things. Knowing how to do them allows one to avoid being scammed when hiring others. And if she ever does get into a situation that's bad--if she's suddenly without money, if she needs to get out of a bad relationship, if she finds herself lost in a strange city--she'll be able to fix it herself.

To me, that's the job of being a parent. My mother calls it "planned obsolescence." But I think it just feels a lot better to know how to do things. When I met people who went to college without a hammer, I was shocked. When I hear about adults who don't know how to do laundry, I judge their parents. Because this is the job.

What have I forgotten?

No comments:

Post a Comment