In the last several years, there’s been growing alarm over the fact that many young people can no longer perform basic skills. In fact, one survey goes so far as to say that there are 20 basic skills – ranging from reading a map to baking bread – that are in danger of extinction in some of the developed parts of the world.
According to a recent article in The Guardian, this is becoming such a problem in the West that a couple of enterprising individuals created a business to pass these skills on to the next generation. Known as “The Adulting School,” the business aims to teach young people how to handle basic financial matters, simple household management, and other things one needs to live a successful adult life. The Guardian elaborates on the scene at a recent class:
“The Adulting School’s first official session took place last week. During their early presentation, on time management, a number of 26-year-old attendees trickled in late. Reports from the summit make it sound not unlike an office party for dogs – participants waggily sniffing each other, being told when and where to sit. They’d been sent by their parents. There were cupcakes in the afternoon.
But it’s almost too easy to dismiss them, these young people with their shy arrogance and need for congratulations. Almost too easy to go up very close and look in their spectacled eyes and say: “There are no medals for being a person, child,” or to peruse their hashtags as you wait for your soup to simmer and quickly write off a whole generation. Because while their parents had fairly linear paths to adulthood – secure jobs, affordable homes in which to raise children, a pension even, a shed – the millennials who dabble in adulting have no similar scripts to follow, and find themselves stranded on the hard shoulder of life, wondering how to act their age.”
While it sounds humorous, it’s also rather tragic at the same time. How in the world did we end up with a generation of incapable adults?
It’s possible that the answer to that question lies in the child-focused era in which that same generation has been raised.
Think about it for a moment. Parents have been taught that saying “no” to their child could permanently damage that child’s self-esteem. So they’ve given them allowances and provided everything money could buy, but never taught them to effectively earn and wisely manage their own money.
Parents have also been given the impression that a child should always be entertained. Thus, they involve them in every activity under the sun, but neglect to entertain them with the greatest boredom buster of them all: hard work via chores, which incidentally also trains children in basic household management skills.
The fact is, children-turned-adults should not have to be taking extra classes in order to learn the basic skills of life. They should already have learned many of them from their parents – and teachers – as they grew up.
If we are going to once again raise a capable, responsible generation of children, do we need to first return to the idea that they are not the center of the universe, to be coddled and catered to at all costs?
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