My friend Lucinda has a daughter who is also a senior this year. She posted on Facebook wanting ideas for life skills people would suggest she work on teaching her daughter this year. That gave me the idea for this post about things I want to make sure my son knows before he leaves home. Besides the moral fortitude I pray he is daily building, here are the first 4 of 8 skills I think are important for college kids to have.
Ever since my kids were young, I have had them do their own laundry. They know how to sort it, use the washer and dryer properly, and put their own stuff away. My youngest isn’t the best at turning things right side out first, but that will come. Justin knows that if he wants his work uniform clean, he needs to plan ahead. He also knows that if he gets stains, he needs to use a reliable stain remover (Melaleuca is our detergent of choice). He also knows how to use the iron. He cares more about his appearance now than he used to, so I don’t even have to prompt him to do a load if his hamper is getting full.
When my boys started high school, I took them to the bank and opened checking accounts for them. They have debit cards that they use for clothes, essentials like deodorant—very essential for a teenage boy—and food if they go out with friends. I still give them a sum of money each month with which to purchase these things, but the buying of such is their responsibility. I taught them each to use a budgeting app and they have a category for tithing and saving. Every month they balance their account with the bank. Since Justin also has a job, he is required to budget that money as well. On his own initiative, he opened a savings account and is having 20% of his paycheck automatically deposited into that account.
When Justin was in middle school, I had this lofty idea of having him cook a day a week. That didn’t really work out, but luckily, he likes to be in the kitchen. He likes to bake and knows how to read a recipe, so he’s good to go. When my husband and I go out of town a couple of times a year for work, I leave him in charge of meals. Now that he’s working a lot more, I will have to adjust that some, but his younger brother needs to build up his kitchen confidence, so I’ll be putting more on his plate, so to speak. It doesn’t have to be anything complicated, just nutritious and plentiful. Even Morgan, my 11-year-old, has decided she likes to bake, so several times this summer she has gotten up early to make muffins or biscuits. She likes to help in the kitchen as well, so I involve her, along with my younger boy, Nathan, in dinner preparation. One thing I probably need to make sure of is that they know how to grocery shop for deals as well.
Even before they knew how to write, my kids sent notes to family and friends for gifts at Christmas and birthdays. Once they were writing on their own, they wrote their own notes. Before that, they just drew pictures and I wrote the words. Teachers always got thank you gifts with notes at the end of the year. Even in high school, knowing their teachers probably rarely hear words of thanks, my boys have given their teachers Subway gift cards and notes of thanks. When a teacher agreed to fill out an evaluation for Justin’s Academy application, he put in a note of thanks along with the invitation to the online form. It’s never a bad thing to show your appreciation.
Later this week: skills 5-9
laundry image from dirtylaundrydesigns.com; wallet image from gallery.yopriceville.com; cooking image from twighlightinsight.wordpress.com; thank you image from blogs.timesunion.com