The world is constantly moving forward, improving and finding new and better ways to do things. And while I applaud the inevitable march of progress and technology, it’s alarming to me how many of basic skills many people are lacking nowadays. Don’t get me wrong—there are a lot of people in the younger generation who have continued these traditions, but they are mostly the exceptions, not the rule.
So, here is a list of 21 things that most kids I’ve talked with do not know how to do…. but probably should!
- Mending and Sewing – I am amazed at how many of my peers can barely do more than sew a button. Mending and sewing skills are incredibly handy, and everyone should know how to do it.
- Basic auto maintenance – Changing a tire, checking/changing the oil, changing the battery–I’m not talking about becoming a mechanic, but everyone who drives ought to know basics.
- Basic House maintenance – You might not need to build a house, but putting up curtain rods and changing out light switches really isn’t that hard.
- Reading a map – GPS and smartphones are no excuse to not know how to read a map. Paper or electronic–being able to figure out where you are on a map and how to get where you want is important.
- Cursive Writing – Not only is cursive writing just beautiful (and not taught in many schools), but it will also improve kids’ handwriting skills.
- Thank You Letters – I don’t know when we stopped writing thank-yous for things, but this skill should be for more than just holidays.
- Writing a check – Most people really only write checks for rent, but this skill is still a good one to have, just in case!
- Writing letters in general – Back in the day, before texting took over, people had to write actual letters to each other and let me tell you, there’s nothing quite like getting a handwritten letter in the mail from a friend!
- How to Use a Camera – I’m not talking about the camera on a smartphone, but a real camera. Bonus points if it requires film!
- Gardening/Growing Things – I’m not saying everyone should be a farmer, but knowing how to plant and grow flowers or veggies is something every kid should learn. Canning is also good to know, but might not be practical for everyone.
- Budgeting – Figuring out how much you have coming in and going out, and making that work without credit or overbalancing your account is absolutely essential and, sadly, something few people can do.
- Dancing – I mean the old-fashioned, fun and even elegant couple dances. The kind you aren’t embarrassed to do in front of your parents, like swing dancing, the foxtrot, square dancing—whatever your style, rock it!
- Making a Fire – Knowing how to start a fire with and without matches.
- Ironing – For heaven’s sake, teach those kids how to iron so they don’t just wear wrinkly shirts all the time!
- Dressing Up Properly – Yoga pants, blue jeans and khakis are not dressing up. I mean really dressing up: dress pants and shoes, dresses, makeup, the works! Even if it’s only every once in a while, dressing well will really get you far.
- Reading a recipe – Not everything should come in a box with instructions. Teach kids how to read a recipe and cook from scratch. It tastes better and is healthier!
- Baking – Nothing, and I mean nothing beats home baked goods.
- Storytelling – We can’t all be Chaucer or Hemingway, but knowing how to communicate and tell a story is an important and overlooked social skill.
- Being Creative – Creativity takes a completely different kind of thinking. Whether you enjoy crafting, doing art, writing, gardening or just making things, creativity is something every kid should learn.
- Phone Etiquette – Smartphones are a part of life for most people, so teaching your kids phone etiquette and how to value those in the room over people on the phone will be invaluable later in life.
- Socializing Without a Phone – Knowing how to talk to people who are actually with you is, sadly, something that kids must be taught nowadays. Learning how to make small talk, how to communicate and how to have fun with others without a phone is something every kid should learn.
How many of these can you do? Can you think of any other old-fashioned skills that you wish more people knew? Share with me in the comments!