I was laying here last night watching a show on the Amish community. It was really interesting. One thing they said was that the schooling the children got was to prepare them for their lives as adults. They are talking real life skills. And I thought about the training we get and how we are so lacking in so many areas. And because people are not taught life skills, they can not teach their children either.
Sure, we get trained in a job skill and the basics like reading, writing, math, and science. But, where is the training in things that are so important such as being a parent. When I had my kids, I realized they came with no instruction manual. Oh, sure there were Spock books and other books I could buy but where was my training before I had the children? No one taught me what to do if my child had a temper tantrum or stuck a bean up his nose or became disrespectful.
The examples we have are our parents or people in our lives who are parent figures. My aunt I call Mama influenced my life a lot for I am a lot like her. They used to tease me and tell me I was hers and they were just raising me. But, her true enjoyment of her boys is so much like mine it is not funny. Sometimes our parents are the example, sometimes a friend but why are we not taught these things before we have children?
Learning to be a parent is not something that is just “there” for the majority of people when they have a child. It is a learning process. Learning what to do and what not to do. Learning how to discipline fairly. Learning what is appropriate for our child to be doing and how to take care of the things like them hanging with the wrong crowd, wearing clothes that are totally inappropriate, how to get our kids to talk to us or what to do when our young child strips off naked and runs outside. So many things and yet no one prepares us. Just like no one prepared us for what childbirth was really like. Oh yes, we heard lots of horror stories but no real facts.
Who teaches us how to know who to trust and who is not trustworthy? Who teaches us signs to watch for on business deals so that we know if it is a real thing or it is just something to get our money? Who teaches us that the world is not a place where everyone and everything is trustworthy? Too many learn the hard way and sometimes too late because they were never taught.
They sent us to Home Economics to teach us how to be a homemaker but I bet most of you are like me and remembered very little when it came time to actually being a homemaker. So, if this is a part of our lives and it is even if we work full-time, we still have to keep a home, make meals, clean, do laundry, keep a budget, etc…where is the training?
I made sure my boys knew by the time they were 12 how to cook, clean, do laundry, sew, buy groceries, the whole nine yards. I did not want them marrying because they thought they needed a woman to do all these things like so many men have done. But, I see many kids today who have no concept of any of these things.
I also taught my sons that life is not always fair but that we can go on and do great things. I never over praised my sons like I see so many parents today doing. If you tell them over and over and cheer and praise all the things they do even when done wrong is awesome and wonderful, when they get in the real world they are going to be in for a shock. And especially when they get a job and the boss wants a good job done. Those people are not going to praise you for a sloppy or bad job.
Something else I taught my sons was that not everyone is going to like or love you. It is just fact and so they need to back away from those who treat them badly. Life is hard and even harder as a kid. They make friendships in a world where there are cliques, they date and then break up and they meet people who are just hostile or bullying and they have to know how to deal with this.
I get a helper who comes to clean and help me due to my disabilities and the one thing I noticed on the other side of the mountain especially is that they had no idea what it meant to clean a house. I literally had to make a list that had dust the shelves, pick up the trash and empty the trash cans, vacuum, mop the kitchen floor, etc on it. I had one that had no idea how to change sheets. I asked her what did she do at her place and she was 20. She said…”oh my mother does all of that”. We do them no favors when we do it all for them instead of teaching them. Yes, doing it ourselves is easier but it is damaging to the child.
So, as I was watching the show on the Amish, I got to thinking about things we really do not get taught before we are adults and out in the real world. How to handle money is one. And with credit card companies knocking on our doors from the time we turn 18, is it any wonder that so many are in financial trouble. That was one thing son and I vowed to do in our dream for a simpler life in the country and that was get rid of all bills. And we did and that is what saved us in the economic crunch and when son lost his job. Now, he is a paid caretaker but during that one year, we were totally relying on faith and God always provided. But, that is another whole blog post for you all would not believe all the ways He did.
I am very mechanically inclined and always have been and so fixing things has come easy for me. It is harder now with my health but my brain still does work and son often comes to ask me about things that he has never worked on like the garage door on the other house. But, how many people are not trained how to do simple repair. I remember a time that a friend told me their dryer was not working and asked would I look at it. Want to know what was wrong? She never knew that you had to clean out that lint filter and it was totally blocked and a wonder that a fire had not happened. Why had she not been taught this when she was younger?
We prepare children for careers but we never prepare them for failure and we all fail at things during our lifetime. And if we are never taught how to deal with the idea of failing at something, what to do, how to overcome the feelings and move on and so we can remain there stuck in a rut. It is the realization that we are not perfect that is hard. We will have failures and it is not the failure that is important but what we do after that is the most important. So, how do we instill in children how to pick up and move forward in life after something goes wrong? How do we teach them that we all fail at things and that it is not the end of the world. First off, we do not praise them lavishly for things they do that are not worthy of praise. That does not mean criticize them and put them down. It simply means do not over praise.
One of the things I see today that we were never taught is how to talk and I do not mean the grammar. With the attitude that “it is my right to say anything I want” out there, we have people saying things and posting things that later will come back to haunt them in their life and work. And of course Facebook encourages us to put it all out there. And doing that may be the very thing that ruins a relationship or keeps us from being hired. The internet is forever. But, even more importantly, we must teach them that yes we do have freedom of speech but with that comes consequences such as people not wanting to be your friend anymore or people talking back to us in the same ugly tone we might be using. I believe in the old saying that God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason and that is to listen twice as much as we talk.
No one teaches us about relationships and I do not mean just the significant other relationships but all relationships like family, friends, classmates and co-workers. No one teaches us of the harsher things and if no one has taught us, then when things go awry, we do not know what to do. Relationships take work. They do not just happen like most people think. Oh the first meeting happens but if you want the relationship to last, you have to put some effort into it. And sometimes relationships fail. Who teaches our children what to do when someone breaks their hearts? We have to learn to listen and to hear what the other person is saying. We have to learn better communication skills and how to compromise. And people have to learn not to use their mouths and words as weapons.
And with everyone keeping their eyes on cellphones, I pads, computers, who talks face to face anymore? I find that so many today do not know how to carry on a meaningful conversation. Oh text them and you can talk for an hour but talk face to face or on the phone and it consists of “uh” ….”uh”…and silences. So many young people and adults no longer know how to carry on a conversation that does not include abbreviations like “ikr” which means “I know, right” or without emoticons. It is becoming a loss art.
We are excellent at making sure there is instruction on careers and the material you need to learn to get that degree or certificate but the other part of our life has been sadly ignored and it seems that now with the computer generation and high-tech I pads and phones, it is ignored even more. Gone are the days where families sat around at night and talked around the dinner table or played cards and talked while playing. Gone are the days where kids learn how to cook, sew, grocery shop, or handle money. And here and now are the days where people are so in debt, where houses look like a rummage sale, where cleaning is not done and kids are just left to their own devices. Children scream and talk over adults trying to talk, throw fits, act inappropriately, etc and no one is teaching them right from wrong or that when they get into the real world and school, people will not like them for that. Where the divorce rate is so high and where no one seems to have a lasting relationship. What has happened? Where did it go?