Schools exist to provide an education to those students who attend. Individual subjects supply a boy or girl with a concentrated understanding of a particular topic. Upon graduating from school, a student should have been exposed to a wide variety of topics which provide avenues for further study. In this process a student has the opportunity to explore his or her world and to find a subject or subjects that arouses his or her interest. In addition, though, school also exists to give each student the basic building blocks for life. One of these building blocks is knowledge of primary life skills. Why is it essential that a school provide such a class and what should such a class focus on?
No matter what course of study a student chooses, that student must eventually graduate into a world where certain life skills are required for success. To give each student the best potential to navigate in the world, certain skills are required. People who lack such skills will often be unable to organize their lives in any coherent way and will often end up becoming a burden to society. Often such people end up living with parents, relatives, or friends instead of establishing their own independent lives. In the worst cases such people end up homeless and without the ability to contribute to society or make choices to develop their own lives.
A fundamental life skill is the ability to create and maintain a budget. Such traditional subject areas as math, economics, and science all have an influence on how a person understands and uses money. While the use of money is often a taboo subject in many households, every person needs to be able to use money for benefit rather than for hurt. No matter how much income or resources a person has, he or she must be able to handle such money properly if he or she is to have success in life. The ability to take an honest look at income as against expenses and to put these in a proper perspective is absolutely necessary for a person to lead a stable existence. The importance of putting money aside for large purchases or unexpected expenses runs counter to the short-term thinking of most young people and thus must be explained in detail for it to become a priority in a young person’s life.
As important as handling money is to a successful life, learning to properly interact with others is just as important if not more so. Relationships are fundamental to the ability to lead a fulfilled life both in the work place and in one’s personal life. The skill to truly listen to another person, to understand his or her point of view, is seriously lacking in many people. Listening properly opens up avenues of communication and allows for much deeper and richer relationships to develop. In addition, listening properly develops a person’s communication skills. The ability to communicate clearly so as to be understood is essential for success in all areas of life. Learning to channel feelings in appropriate ways also enables the maintenance of relationships over the long term and helps to prevent or lessen painful break-ups. Good, stable relationship both in the business and personal arenas are essential for a life of contentment and happiness.
Food is fundamental to life. Being able to cook tasty and healthy meals contributes to a person’s overall quality of life. Eating healthy food enables a person to avoid many diseases that are a result of poor eating habits as well as providing energy to live a high quality of life. In addition, learning how to cook at home using fresh ingredients is less expensive than eating out, thereby helping to maintain a proper budget, as well as a good way to learn about the things that a person is putting in his or her body. Having a fundamental knowledge of food preparation is also a good survival skill. The less a person has to rely upon others in acquiring and preparing sustenance, the more likely that person can survive and thrive in any situation. Food is an extremely important part of anyone’s life and the ability to make healthy and creative dishes is a tremendous asset to any individual’s life.
Education has many components. While many aspects of education contribute to a person’s general enlightenment and scope of world view, there are aspects of education that deal with the every day basics of life. These fundamental aspects should be a part of any school curriculum. Though many basics such as handling of finances, inter-personal relating, and food preparation, as well as a number of others, can be learned in the home environment, the school system cannot assume that this learning is taking place. Schools have a responsibility to provide a set of life skills that will prepare a student to succeed in everyday life. This general topic should be integrated with other core studies and the student helped to see how each area of study integrates into a whole. In doing so, the school will have succeeded in not just graduating a student, but sending him or her into the world with the best set of resources in order to succeed in life.