As a society, it is our responsibility to ensure that our children are prepared for adult life. A big part of this preparation is teaching them life skills. Many adults learned these skills through trial and error, often resulting in very costly mistakes. It is important that we do all that we can to prevent those same mistakes from becoming barriers to our children’s success.
It would be much more efficient and more beneficial to our children to teach these life skills in school. We make sure children graduate able to communicate effectively in writing and do basic math, but who makes sure they can cook their own meals, wash their own clothes or balance their checkbook? An easy answer would be to say that parents should be teaching these things at home, but that is not always possible. With more and more single parent households and with both parents working full time in many of the two parent homes, there often just isn’t time for parents to teach these skills.
Having certain life skills taught in schools by experts would ensure that students are all receiving the best information. Things like balancing a check book, dealing with health and life insurance, and building and maintaining good credit are skills that many adults now struggle with. If they don’t understand themselves how to accomplish something like getting the best mortgage they will only be passing along misinformation which may be harmful to their children’s future success.
A basic curriculum with units on employment skills, financial planning, household management, health care, time management, and parenting/relationship skills would teach students things that most adults see as common sense but are truly things that need to be learned. If we continue the trend of having everyone learn these things through trial and error, we are dooming our world’s youth to a lifetime of repeating the mistakes of their parents and grandparents.
By teaching life skills in school, we ensure that all young adults enter the workforce or college life on a more even footing. Financial planning lessons in particular would help to give young people a better chance at achieving their goals in things like getting an education and home ownership. These goals shouldn’t be reserved for those fortunate enough to have parents who had the time and knowledge to teach them basic life skills.
Being able to fend for themselves in the adult world will have the added benefit of instilling our youth with a greater level of self esteem and a sense of accomplishment. Though many of these tasks are simple things, it would be difficult to navigate the adult world independently without the knowledge of how to do laundry or cook a meal. Self reliance is something we should teach all children both academically and realistically.
Too many teens and young adults enter the workforce with no real interpersonal skills on top of having no work experience. Learning how to write a resume or how to act during a job interview would make these entry level employees better prepared not only for getting a job but for working in general. Since many of the jobs that our young people start off with involve a lot of personal interaction, teaching them how to deal with people outside of a classroom would make them better prepared for their jobs and creates better employees.
With many of today’s parents lacking the knowledge, time and resources to properly teach a lot of life skills, schools should be expanding their curriculum to include the things that parents cannot teach. Learning how to wash dishes and laundry can remain skills learned at home but things that require more expert knowledge should be moved into the schools so that all our children enter adulthood with the same basic set of skills and the ability to achieve greater success.