As the country feels more divided every day, we are reminded that we have one goal when it comes to raising or mentoring today’s generation: that is to find the path to success. That path, though often bumpy, is unique and special to each young person who is facing the world today and without the guidance of parents, caregivers and mentors, it can be far too easy to give up.
As we, together, raise a future generation of self-sustainers, we are reminded that sometimes as today’s youth embarks on various phases of their lives, such as graduation from high school or college, they are no longer equipped with basic life skills. Gone are the days that home economics is offered in public schools and it is a shame because there are valuable lessons to be learned.
Take some time to consider whether the youth in your life could handle the stressors of everyday life once he or she heads down that path alone – we think you’ll be surprised how many of these life skills we fail to prepare our young people with.
Cooking – Sure there is the joke that college students and those recently graduated survive on Ramen noodles, but there is more to life than using the microwave. Teach the young person in your life the value of visiting the local Farmer’s Market to gather fresh produce and the importance of learning about the food pyramid. Eating a balanced diet isn’t difficult and neither is using the stove to create some well-rounded meals. Sautéing vegetables, boiling whole grain pasta for spaghetti and throwing together an easy soup recipe don’t take much time or money.
Balancing a checkbook – We get it. We’re all busy. Who has time to balance a checkbook? Bounce that first check or get declined with a long line of customers behind you and you’ll find the time. Teach your youth the importance of living within his or her means and spending only from the cash flow that is available. If he or she must use a debit card, learning how to balance deductions/withdraws with deposits is crucial to developing healthy financial habits.
Cleaning – We understand that most students will not have the time or the motivation to do some hands-and-knees scrubbing of the dorm room or apartment, but it is important to understand the value of keeping things tidy on a daily basis. Living in clutter can be overwhelming and can create an anxious situation, not to mention the allergies and sinus issues that can come with a dusty living space. Teach them that starting the day by making the bed not only can provide a sense of accomplishment right off the bat, but it also could lead to a better night’s sleep. And designating a few days each week as laundry day can keep things from piling up – literally. Just like it is better to study a little at a time, rather than cramming the night before a big exam, it is also easier and less overwhelming to wipe things down and tidy things up on a daily basis.
Social skills and manners – Believe it or not, basic manners just aren’t appreciated these days. A simple please or thank you goes a long way, but all too often, today’s youth aren’t equipped with these important words. Proper social skills are valuable in all aspects of life, from making friends and speaking to teachers, to job interviews and meeting a significant other’s family.
Organizational skills – So much is lost when a student does not understand the importance of organizational skills. Studies have shown that we are more productive in everything we do when we find an organizational method that works best for us. It may be an old-school paper calendar, an agenda book, an online app or a daily to-do list, the point is to find what works and stick with it. This not only saves time, but it also decreases stress and anxiety when everything that is necessary to succeed on an assignment, project or job assignment is organized and at one’s fingertips.
The bottom line is that when each of the above becomes habit, life no longer seems to overwhelming and with all that time and space freed up, the opportunities are endless.