I’ve added a post category today, called Life Skills.  I’ve been thinking lately that there are a ton of skills which are really useful in real life that aren’t taught in schools, and that many people don’t teach their kids.  I think I was pretty lucky in that regard, as I learned a ton of these from my parents while growing up, but I keep running into people who don’t know how do some things I take for granted.

So instead of trying to teach a class at a local high school, and getting fired for something I’m sure, I’m just going to start by posting a few things here.

The skills I’m talking about might fall into the “Home Ec.” category, but also more along the lines of Heinlein’s famous quote:

“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.”

With the modern world I think we’ve been able to slide without knowing a lot of essential skills.  “Why should I know how to change a tire? I have AAA.”  That’s great unless your cell phone is dead or missing, or you really must get going in less than 1-4 hours (making a flight, taking someone to the hospital, etc…).  Everyone who drives should know how to change their tire.  Everyone.  It’s an easy skill, and it could save your life.

If you haven’t, you should read The Mysterious Island, by Jules Verne.  While not his best book in my opinion, still a great read.  Cyrus Smith is an engineer who knows how to get things done.  He can make fire, pottery, nitroglycerin, iron, electricity, a telegraph system, and a ship.  All using what’s available on the island.  While you may not know how to make nitroglycerin using what you find on an island, you will know how to make it when I’m done with the series of posts.

These skills are applicable for men and women of all ages (young children probably shouldn’t be making explosives unsupervised though… :).

I hope folks find these useful.