Growing up, I was a Girl Scout and we learned how to help others, how to live in the wilderness (camping), and at one STEM camp I learned how to unscrew just about every appliance. When I was able to drive, my dad taught me to check the oil in the car, and my brother showed me reluctantly how to change a flat tire. All valuable life skills, however when not practiced every day become a distant memory. Many kids don’t know those additional simple life skills. Skipping over everything we as parents HAVE to teach our kids (hygiene, manners, clothing, toilet use, walking, talking, etc.), there are a few things I am super excited to teach my kids- my daughter more specifically.
- Power Tools: I’m not talking the fancy carpenter tools that my husband still won’t let me use, I’m talking about a simple power drill and power sander (maybe even a fancy miter saw). Essentially the simple tools that I use daily in the She•Shop to create and design usable decorative crafts. I didn’t grow up with power tools, and for good reason. My older siblings might have taken the house down with them (no offense guys- you know it’s true). I used a hammer and nails, or a really old screw driver. If I didn’t have those, I got creative with various objects around the house that I could use too. Power tools are efficient for DIY house maintenance and they help create new things for others to enjoy.
- Flat Tire: Who knows if we’ll even have tires in 13 years, but my kids will definitely know how to change a flat tire. This is an important skill to me as I’ve had to change quite a few. Yes, AAA is amazing and very responsive even in remote-ish areas like ours. However, whether you’re male or female, it’s not safe sitting on the side of the road- not anymore. There are kind strangers, there are nice people- but having that necessary life skill mitigates risk considerably. Also, I’ll be sure to teach them what that fancy low pressure tire light is, and NOT to ignore it for five Vermont exits.
- Lawn Care: Old fashioned lawn mowing! Well, as old fashioned as a push mower with an automatic push assist can get. I remember growing up wanting to mow our yard, but my dad always said I was too young. I entirely understand now I think he just didn’t want me breaking his fragile relic of a lawn mower. Less headache and stress for him to try and fix it, or scour garage sales in hopes of finding a good deal on a newer model. I learned to lawn mow when my husband was deployed for four months over the summer months. I was left DETAILED instructions on how to start, how to clean, how to maintain, and what not to do. Yes, I used them often. I LOVE lawn mowing. At our house, it’s great exercise and it’s a productive activity. Back to the necessary life skill- this is a great opportunity to take care of something on their own, while potentially assisting others as a side hobby.
- Oil Check: Another car item is checking the oil. It feels more like a right of passage rather than a necessity given the plethora of lights and warnings on a vehicle’s dashboard now. It’s important to know how things run, and why they run the way they do in order to preserve the vehicles integrity while driving it. My husband is probably laughing (if he’s reading this), because he assumes I don’t know how to check the oil. (Let me clear the air, I know how to- I just don’t want to.) Sometimes lights malfunction in the vehicle and sometimes you have a car that is notorious for leaving that ‘check engine’ light on. The kids will for sure know how to check their oil, with or without a fancy light.
- Pellet Stove Cleaning: My kids are very intrigued when we clean out the pellet stove. This is actually the catalyst for my blog post idea. I didn’t grow up with a pellet stove and again, I was showed in detail how to clean, start, and refill the pellets to get the stove running and working. The simple act of cleaning the stove is important to me because it’s paying attention to detail to clean and prevent an accident. A similar life skill for everything else. Knowing how the details apply to the bigger picture is something I want to share with them.
I mentioned before that I want both kids to know these skills, but it’s especially important for my daughter to know. I imagine most people reading wouldn’t think twice about gender, but while I’m writing this I can’t help but feel it’s expected for men to know how to do the above list, but it’s impressive if a woman knows the above list. I may not know the terminology, but jaws drop when others hear about my She*Shop capabilities. Others don’t expect me to use power tools, use the tractor, use the chainsaw (it’s a work in progress, I’m past the classroom portion-almost to the practical exam!), but it’s not expected I use heavy equipment. So, I want my kids to be prepared for life. I want my kids to have these life skills, and so many more that my husband will teach them- just as he taught me.