Reactions to last week’s column about skills children should have before they leave home fell into two general categories:
1.) You’re absolutely right! Everyone should master those things and more. For example …
And, 2.) You’re absolutely right! But I’m embarrassed to say there are a few things on that list I need to learn myself.
My suggestion, for instance, that every adult should know how to fold a fitted sheet prompted a Twitter conversation in which one friend shared a video tutorial — to watch it, Google “how to fold a fitted sheet” — and others thanked him for finally solving one of life’s great mysteries.
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Some readers were glad my list included basic car maintenance, such as checking the oil and changing a tire, but thought it should go further: changing the oil, checking and refilling coolant, jump-starting a car, even changing the battery, starter and alternator.
“I know a girl that paid nearly $300 in parts and labor to put in a starter that I know my 19-year-old daughter could have put in,” wrote Rick McMullen.
Similarly, many readers agreed that children should learn how to balance a checkbook but suggested additional money-management skills. (Fortunately, a new graduation requirement in Wichita means all high school students will get at least one semester of financial literacy.)
Thanks to dozens of people who called, e-mailed or posted on Facebook, here are more modern-day skills everyone should know and then teach their children:
• How to clip coupons and look for sales.
• How to figure interest on a loan.
• How to perform CPR and first aid.
• How to write a prompt, proper thank-you note.
• How and when to say “please,” “thank you” and “excuse me.”
• How to set a table.
• Basic table manners.
• Basic self-defense.
• How to introduce yourself, shake hands, exchange pleasantries and maintain eye contact.
• How to treat a stain.
• How to use a corkscrew.
• How to file income tax.
• How to plan meals and make a shopping list.
• How to tell when food is expired and when to throw it out.
• How to count back change without a computer or calculator.
• How to buy insurance.
• How to hem pants or skirts.
• How to schedule doctor or dentist appointments.
• When to schedule basic car maintenance.
• How to register to vote.
• How to negotiate a car purchase.
• How to drive in bad weather.
• How to make a bed and keep a room clean.
• How to be safe in your room, apartment, house or car.
• How to listen to your instincts and avoid questionable or dangerous situations.
• How to flip a breaker and change a fuse.
• How to turn off the water supply to a toilet, sink or entire house.
• How to light a water heater and furnace.
• How to change a light bulb.