The first thing I learned how to cook was apple crisp, and that was in 7th grade. At the same age, I also learned how to make pasta, English muffin mini-pizzas and a handful of other things that gave me the confidence to try to make other types of foods. My mom only washed laundry once a week, so if I wanted to wear a favorite shirt that was in the laundry basket I had to wash it myself. These are basic skills that I learned in Junior High, continued to practice through High School, and therefore had a very easy transition to living on my own in college and beyond.
My son recently turned sixteen and got his driver’s license. When he came home from a movie night with his friends I commented to my wife how grown up he seemed all of a sudden. But just as those words were leaving my lips, I realized that my son was missing some very important basic skills to survive on his own.
I took on the bulk of the load in teaching him how to drive, and I’ve been taking him to the gym a couple times a week to teach him how to effectively and safely get in shape. But it’s time for us to start up some new education sessions:
- Washing Clothes: I want to start by having him help me with the laundry by learning how to sort clothes by color and type. We’ll also cover the cycles of the washing machine and how to operate it. Eventually, I want to transition him into doing his laundry all on his own.
- Cooking: Once a week, I will be having him help me cook dinner. I’ll start with something simple, such as spaghetti, and move into more complicated dishes. I’d like to teach him how to make his favorite dinner choices to help keep his interest.
When I was on the cusp of parenthood, I remember thinking of what it meant to be a parent. The obvious things came to mind such as feeding, clothing and teaching our about to be born son right from wrong. But there is so much more to being a parent than what I imagined at the time. Preparing our son to venture out on his own and be successful as an adult requires teaching him skills he’ll need to survive, and also to be healthy, wealthy, and wise.
I’ve got a few years before he heads off to college, it’s time to get busy.
Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
What have you discovered about being a parent that you didn’t expect? Are you actively working towards ensuring your kid(s) have the right skills to be successful when it’s time for them to be on their own?
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