My sister has been smart this summer.
My nephew is planning on going away to university after his next and last year of high school. He wanted to get used to more independence by working and living away from home.
That's why he is here.
My sister also wanted to make sure he got used to managing things on his own and one of my jobs here is to encourage that.
Sometimes it is easier to do this if you are not the parent and already well in the role of doing things for your own child.
Yesterday we did laundry intensive for example, including how to use a clothesline because they don't have one at home.
He already cooks well so that's not an issue. And he is a conservative guy so probably will handle his money well but his situation has made me think of launching my own kids and of all the first years I see every fall.
One story that sticks in my mind is a mother that bought her son a chest freezer and filled it up with his favourite frozen dinners.
Another is of a really nice 20 year old boy who asked an accountant who was a guest speaker how to claim bankruptcy because he was in so deep with credit cards. Or the girls who take their student loans and go to the Dominican at spring break.
My students also tell me things like learn how much you can drink so you know when you have had enough (for me that would be two glasses of wine max, their self described limits would amaze you), or that girls need to always take their drinks with them at a bar, even into the washroom, so no one puts anything into it. (I find this one so sad).
I also remember my middle son telling me the most useful thing I ever taught him was how to iron a shirt. That's it. After 19 years of my upbringing what he remembers is shirt ironing.
So what's on your essential skills list? Here is the start of mine:
- how to iron a shirt (details first then the body, use steam)
- how to make quick dinners with pasta that don't require tomato sauce
- what interest is and why it is scary (be aware that your freshman is going to be surrounded by credit card kiosks)
- how to sew on a button
- how to look at the unit price of food
- that students are no longer living at the level of their parents' income (I am blown away by the "essential" $30 lipsticks and Coach bags my "broke" students bring to class)
- how to sew a button
- how to treat girls with respect
- how to expect men to treat a girl with respect
- how to separate colours in the wash and why some things need to be hung up
- how to do a quick clean even if it is only with a box of disinfectant wipes
I know I am going to think of a million more things through the day but now its your turn.
Over to you.