I’m am shocked by the number of young people who haven’t got a clue about cooking, cleaning, basic accounting and common courtesy just to name a few life skills. We wonder why we see so many ill-equipped youth struggling to make their way in life, yet how many of us have taken the time to teach our children basic life skills?
My mom and dad worked full-time, demanding jobs. So, when we were very young, a university student baby-sat us until our parents returned from work in the evening. We were left orders to show her respect, do what she said and help around the house if necessary. By the time the youngest of us turned nine, the sitter was gone. Our parents put my older brother in charge and we were each assigned housekeeping jobs in addition to our school work and after school sports. The chores were on a rotation, so all of us learned how to clean the bathroom, vacuum and dust. My sister and I learned how to cook dinner, something I loved and my sister hated. Nonetheless, she still learned that basic necessity in life. Even my older brother could cook by the time he went to university.
We could not receive our small weekly allowance until our chores were completed and we were expected to budget that money until the next pay out. That was never easy for me! Still, that life lesson came in handy when the time came for me to pay my own bills. Furthermore, we were not allowed to go out and socialize until all housework and homework was completed. That taught us the lessons of management, responsibility and the rewards that come with doing your job properly.
These basic disciplines served me and my siblings well when we flew the nest and went out on our own. They are part of the fabric of our being. Evaluating some of the young people I work with today leads me to ask – has our fast paced existence, modern conveniences, and apathy left our children without the skills to cope with life in the long run? We do so much to ensure our children’s futures, but why don’t we guarantee they have the right tools for living? We buy them every mod-con we can afford, but forget about giving them life skills we can give for free. Young people need to understand that there are consequences for not being prepared in life. If they haven’t mastered the basics, they won’t have a proper foundation to build upon. At some point, their short comings will become a real disadvantage in life.
Training your kids at a young age is a real advantage. Life skills will quickly become habitual. It’s more difficult when they’re older and think they can control their lives before they’re capable; so, start early before they can question your motives.
I know it’s not easy to get our kids to help out around the house. I know we give into their demands because we’re too worn out to resist. But, it’s worth making them learn and earn, even if it causes friction on occasion. Personally, I’m for prying those mobile phones and computers out of their hands and replacing them with a mop and a frying pan a couple of times a week before they become teenagers and vanish from the house! Don’t forget who the boss is!
For those of you who can afford to or want to do everything for your kids, STOP NOW! A spoiled child always suffers in the end. Do them a lasting favour. Teach them proper life skills. They will thank you in the future. I am grateful for my parents every day.