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Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Who Will Teach Them?

I see a growing trend that leaves me quite concerned. It is men who can't do the most simple of repairs or basic maintenance on their cars or homes. We're not talking rocket science here, just an oil change or installing some new brakes. I am blessed as my husband is a true Mr. Fix-it. He can fix anything, and I do mean anything! He can build things from scratch. In nearly 20 years of marriage the only thing I've ever HAD to call a professional out to do is pump the septic(I wouldn't be surprised if he had some genius way to do that too, but I'd rather not find out!) Now, I will be honest and say I have called professionals out to do things that he took too long to do to please me...

Just as alarming is the amount of young ladies who can't cook a simple meal from scratch! I couldn't help but chuckle on day when I was out shopping and I heard a mother tell her daughter as she was holding a packet of Hidden Valley Ranch Dip and Dressing Mix; "We're going to make homemade dressing." She had such a proud tone to her voice. I will admit I LOVE that stuff myself and have been known to whip it up from time to time, but to call it homemade is a bit of a stretch!

These young ladies also lack other very basic homemaking skills. I happen to be one of them. While I consider myself a rather good cook and master baker, I couldn't sew anything if my life depended on it. I am clueless on how to get those fitted sheets to fold nicely, and many other domestic duties.

Why? There are a couple of reasons from what I can tell. First, until my generation schools offered Home-Ec for the ladies and classes like Auto Shop and Woodworking for the guys. Young men and ladies graduated high school with a basic idea on how to perform these seemingly simple tasks. They also had men in their lives, usually a father who showed them how to do simple home and car maintenance, and mothers who stood by their side as they learned to bake a cake(no, not from a Betty Crocker box!)

Young children helped mom and dad in basic household duties. They had chores that increased in responsibility as they aged and matured and proved themselves in the smaller tasks.

Today, most if not all schools no longer offer these classes, not even as electives. As much as I balked at taking Home-Ec and Family Economics in my small rural high school, I now appreciate it. By the way, I also took drafting and welding!

Not only are schools no longer offering these courses, but many homes don't have a father or strong male role model, and many more have mom who has to work all day, so there is no one home to teach these important skills. Mom is far too tired after working all day and pulls out the convenient boxed food(otherwise known as "fake food" in this household!) or stops by Jack in the Box or Micky Dee's, who can blame her? She's exhausted! I don't blame or judge her, but the fact is we have a generation or two of young men and ladies that don't know how to plan a simple meal or repair their own homes.

If you have the money I suppose it is no big deal to pick up the phone and order take-out or call a plumber or mechanic, but with today's economy, we all may find ourselves having to learn to be a bit more self-sufficient. Even if you do have money to spare, think of the money you'd get to keep simply by preparing food at home or changing your own brakes or oil? That's money you could donate to a worthy cause or help others. That is money you could save in the bank for a true emergency, or take a nice family vacation, or buy that wide screen without credit, imagine that!

Money aside, the feeling of being able to know you can depend on yourself is a big enough reason to learn to do these things. And by the way.....I see no reason at all a young man shouldn't learn how to cook a meal and do laundry without turning it all pink, or a lady to not learn to change her own tires or oil!

There's only one thing stopping them....Who will teach them? Many mothers and fathers these days can't perform these tasks themselves but alone pass them on.... Here is where our Grandma's and Grandpa's could really teach us a thing or two, if only we'd take the time to listen! We need more older mentors in our lives and in our childrens lives, and to be willing to learn from them.

1 comment:

Karen (KayKay) said...

My husband and I have talked about this often. He is also a man who can do and fix anything and it is troubling to him to see so many of our son's friends who don't know how to change a tire - much less fix something.