365 Days of Writing – Day 250 – The least you should know

buttons and needle

I think it is unfortunate that there are far too many adults who don’t possess what I consider basic skills.  I suppose it is the fault of parents – we allow our children to immerse themselves in computers and video games rather than forcing them to learn from us.  That may have worked when schools had budgets that allowed them to teach subjects beyond math, english and science but now the responsibility is back on the family.

There are once basic skills, like embroidery or tatting, which are now virtually extinct.  I think it’s fine that those who have a passion for such activities to exist as a minority so anyone wanting the benefits of their talents have to pay for it and pay well.

I’m not talking about such rarefied knowledge.  I’m talking about being able to do things which are useful in everyday living.

Based on an extremely unscientific poll of the men and women I work with, between the ages of 24 and 30,  the following tasks are beyond their ken:

sewing on a button


doing laundry

making pancakes

making a basic sauce

making salad dressing

Those I asked rely on a tailor to hem pants or skirts and to replace a missing button or reinforce a loose one. The concept of threading a needle and actually sewing belongs to the dark ages before there were smart phones.  If there was an AP for sewing, then perhaps they’d consider taking a stab at it.

They eat out if they want pancakes – based on the number of people who admit to this I recommend we all buy stock in IHOP!  When told of pancakes mixes which require only water to be added, I am met with foodie horror.  Pancakes just aren’t pancakes if they are made at home.

Laundry is done only as a last resort and only if their budget doesn’t allow for sending it out.  The concept of washing some items in cold and some in hot didn’t register.  Their theory is to maximize the load to complete the excruciating task as quickly as possible.  Better yet, they prefer to visit mom and let her do their laundry, for old times sake.

Sauces are purchased, most often in a jar.  For some reason they don’t trust cans.   When told that making a basic white sauce, which can easily become a cheese sauce, is a simple affair, I was met with skepticism and distrust.

Salad dressings, according to my fellow workers, are mysterious alchemy only available to Paul Newman or someone named Kern.

I don’t mean to brag but my daughter is an excellent cook.  It was less a matter of teaching than osmosis and lots of Food Channel shows.  She can now make some dishes which I haven’t dared attempt.  As proud as I am of her culinary skills, I was never able to convey to her the miracle of the sewing machine or the magic of a hot iron.

I’m sure there are other abilities which many consider to be basic that I haven’t included.  I’d be curious to know what you’d want to add to the list.

Whatever you consider necessary skills, if you have a young person under your roof, there’s still time.  Don’t let them out into the world without learning at least a few of these basic skills – they’ll thank you in the long run!


One thought on “365 Days of Writing – Day 250 – The least you should know

  1. LubbyGirl September 8, 2013 / 2:13 pm

    The simple act of washing a dish when finished seems to escape many an otherwise intelligent and accomplished individual. What would we do without dishwashers??!

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