ADULTING 101 – BY ELLIN CURLEY

I read a fascinating article from Today, on Facebook. It was written by Meghan Holohan on March 29, 2019, and is titled “ ‘Adulting’ Class at Kentucky high school teaches crucial life skills.”

What a great concept! I’ve always thought high schools and colleges should offer life skills classes so kids aren’t left totally unprepared when they move into adulthood (that is if their parents don’t prepare them, which most don’t).

In the Kentucky school, ‘Adulting’ seminars were offered and the response was overwhelming and positive. Parents were as thrilled as the kids when the project started blowing up on the internet. Seniors could choose three out of eleven workshops to attend with the goal of gaining more general knowledge and specific skills needed to help them navigate their lives after high school.

The classes offered were awesome and totally practical. Some of them were: Dorm Room Cooking, How To Interact With the Police (I’m assuming it’s an inner city school), Healthy Relationships and Boundaries, It’s Money, Baby, i.e. Personal Finance, Writing a Resume and Cover Letter, Filling out an Application, Basics of Checking and Savings and When you Need to See A Doctor.

The first class to fill up was dorm room cooking. The Police were the second most popular and the third was Healthy Relationships. Apparently, a lot of young girls were not sure how and when to set boundaries in a relationship and what you should and should not expect — or accept — in a relationship. If you don’t see good relationships in your life, I guess you need to be taught what a good one looks like and how to get it. Very sad.

This school’s adulting classes are hopefully the start of a new trend. I looked online and found an adulting class for millennials that teaches them ‘survival’ skills like monthly budgeting and how to open a wine bottle with a cork. A library in Oregon offers “Adulting 101: Basic How-To’s for ages 16-25.”

Apparently, neither mainstream schools or parents are preparing kids to take on the world beyond home and high school.

I’ve read several conflicting explanations for why kids today seem so clueless when it comes to basic adulthood skills. Some blame it on the fact that so many kids continue to live at home through their 20’s, and even later. But one article pointed out that in the 1940s, people lived at home in even larger numbers and for even longer periods than recent generations. But those kids also did chores and were given adult responsibilities while at home, so making it in the real world was not a problem for them when the time came.

That points to late 20th-century parenting as the problem.

One author argues that both parents usually have to work crazy hours just to provide good lives for their families, so no one has time to teach life skills to their kids. Another author blames helicopter or snowplow parents who treat their kids like delicate, pampered snowflakes, do everything for them and expect nothing from them.

Another school of thought blames high schools, which used to teach skills like cooking, shop, and bookkeeping but now don’t. My husband had a great home economics class and learned how to cook as a teenager. He was the only boy in a class full of girls! Win, win!

Another author argues that every generation of young adults is equally ignorant of life skills and that most people learn them in the field, as adults. I had never cooked a thing until I reached law school and had my first apartment. Many kids don’t have their own checkbooks when they live with their parents and so they don’t learn how to manage one until they are living and working on their own.

I’m not sure which theory I believe, but I agree with the person who said that whatever the root causes of their egregious lack of ‘adult’ knowledge, the kids today should be commended for trying to learn what they realize they don’t know.

Hopefully, there will be a big spike in enrollment in the Adulting School that has opened, which offers classes in cooking, sewing, and basic conflict resolution. I know some adults who could use those classes. I know many career women who don’t know the first thing about cooking, except ordering out. I still can’t balance a checkbook.

Where do I sign up?

15 thoughts on “ADULTING 101 – BY ELLIN CURLEY”

    1. I did it too when I was a teenager. I would listen to the murder mysteries on the radio while doing it and it was great fun, it didn’t seem like work.
      Leslie

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      1. I never learned to iron. In fact, I was so bad at it, my first husband insisted that I send his shirts for work out to the local laundry because he had to look polished at his law firm. So my ignorance improved my life dramatically!

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        1. I didn’t have to worry about perfection Ellin, most scientist that I knew dressed like slobs. So Peter looked pretty good. In fact he looked pretty good in anything… 😉

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        2. I never said i was GOOD at it and to this day, I hate ironing. The only time I started ironing again was when I was collecting dolls and I had to wash all those very old tiny dresses by hand, coat them with a LOT of starch, and very carefully iron them — and I had to buy a travel iron because they are small! Other than that? Garry irons REALLY well (his Dad was a tailor and you have to iron!) … but he never irons MY clothing. I used to have to BEG him to iron something for me. He ironed ONLY his own items — and these days, he doesn’t wear anything that needs ironing. It’s all stretch.

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    2. I never got to actually cook anything when I was growing up, but I got to watch a lot of great cooking. So I learned by osmosis. But I never really made anything myself until I had my first apartment in Law School at 22.

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  1. It sounds a great idea although it is sad that it’s necessary. I have often wondered how young people today seem to have missed learning these sorts of things myself. I learned most of what I know about cooking, cleaning, mending etc from my mum, some before I was married and some after. Sometimes of course when you are young you don’t realise that you need to know these things until you find yourself responsible for doing them. Just this afternoon the 18-year-old daughter of a fellow volunteer at the Op Shop called her mother to ask if she should get the washing off the line. The washing was dry, it looked like rain. Surely common sense suggests that bringing it in would be the thing to do.
    I used to be able to balance a cheque book but I haven’t had a cheque book in 15 years, hardly anyone here uses personal cheques any more. I guess I could still do it if I had to.

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        1. Personal finances is the one area where it’s important to know your limitations. That’s why I hire someone to make sure I don’t end up paying interest and fees unnecessarily and my taxes are done right so I don’t end up with penalties and interest there too. I did everything myself for years and my inevitable mistakes ended up costing us dearly over the years.

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          1. I do our taxes. My brother has someone else do his and now Revenue Canada is after him for something. Last year I had to get after Revenue Canada for not sending me my assessment in a reasonable time frame. They owed me money too.

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    1. Fortunately most people do their banking online these days, which makes it easier. But I still have a checkbook and I still can’t balance it. One of my major luxuries is having a bookkeeper to help with things like that. I’d never get through tax season without her!

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    1. I agree that nomatter why kids are taking these classes, they are a good thing. At least the kids recognize what they don’t know and are trying to educate themselves. This will pay off in areas like resume writing, applying for jobs, personal finance, staying out of debt, interview techniques, etc. The earlier you know these things the better. Trial and error is fine in the kitchen, but not when it comes to money or jobs.

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