Sunday, 28 October 2007

Learning Life Skills

Going off to uni is a big step. It's not so much the being away from home, though that doesn't help: after all, who is going to be around to answer difficult questions like 'How much washing powder do I put into the machine?'

It's finding all those life skills necessary for survival. Food shopping, cooking, washing up, washing, drying....

Of course, you try to train them up. You encourage them to wash up - ACTIVELY. They need the practice. You teach them how to cook - with varying degrees of success. It's amazing how easy it is to learn to cook biscuits and cake, but a main dish is SO complicated and so much trouble. Why bother, when frozen microwaveable meals are so easy to come by? (This attitude changes dramatically once the parents are no longer footing the bill.)

The washing machine... well, I have to admit that I failed there. Although I tried to leave them to do all their own washing, reasons of economy led me to trawl their rooms at times in order to run a full machine.

Then personality comes into it as well. One may be skilled in keeping a bedroom clean and tidy, another might just LOVE ironing. (Such a pity when they leave home...). One might love to cook - another is brilliant at using up all those leftovers in the fridge, especially when there is enough for a second meal for the family.

Trying to teach someone how to do something when it is not in their natural inclination and they know someone else is available to do it for them... well, what's the point? Life is too short to sweat about these things - it will all work out on a 'need to know how' basis later on. As a parent, you can just do your best.

But however well the kids are trained and taught, it's still not easy. There is just so much to learn to do, especially in a strange place with unfamiliar appliances. My two have coped really well... so maybe they were better prepared than I thought...

1 comment:

Cat said...

EXCUSE me! but 4 months in Peru HANDWASHING in COLD water ALL my clothes left me pretty well prepared for the luxury of washing machines! ;)