Life skills: Catch them young

  • Wg Cdr DPS Bajwa (Retd), Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
  • Updated: Apr 16, 2016 22:52 IST
Children need to be taught all life skills without being too kind to them. (iStock)

I believe that I am jack of all trades, but master of none, and yet I feel it is worthwhile. Learning is a lifelong process. In this context, it is always advisable that we teach our children everything possible that they ought to learn in their growing years.

Some affluent parents may think that the children must get all what they want and the fleet of servants or domestic help do everything for the kids. Young children must be told to do their work so that as an adult they do not become dependent on spouse or domestic help. Children must learn how to make their own bed in the morning, keep their own clothes in the closet neatly or help mother fold laundry. As they advance in age, they must also learn how to cook and help mother in other household chores.

Whenever I cut a fruit or paint a wall or a cooler, or tighten a screw, my grandchildren would come running saying “let me do it”. I never shoo them away saying “you will ruin it”. It is better that they learn how to handle a knife or a paint brush or a screwdriver at a ripe age, else they will never learn it. Children always copy their parents and if the parents let them participate, they get groomed as a complete human being. Most women lament that their husbands leave wet towel on bed after bath or throw night suit and slippers in bedroom. Had this individual been groomed to tidy his own room as a youngster, he would have followed the habit as a grown-up also. I overheard a working girl, saying that she would marry a man who could provide her a full-time cook. This proves that cooking is becoming a phobia for younger generation, more so when fast food is so easily available.

I remember when I got my first bicycle, I always cleaned it daily even the spokes and the rim would shine. I felt proud riding the clean bike. Sure enough that habit stayed with me even today and at the age of 71, I would like to ride my scooter or car only if it is sparking clean. I see youngsters who have all the time for their smartphone or computer, but never bother to clean their bike.

A lady staying next door is here for many years for the sake of her only son’s education. He is so pampered that he does nothing to help his mother. In fact, I have seen his mother clean his scooter and provide everything on a platter to him. I wonder what kind of husband or father this boy would make!!! On the contrary, when we visited my cousin sister, she would call “Chotu, beta get some tea please” And behold, we see her teenage son bringing tea and snacks for us.

Children need to be taught all life skills without being too kind to them. Besides teaching swimming, driving, cooking, proficiency in sports as normal activities, they must also help parents in household chores, in the formative years. The list is endless, which can go to helping buy vegetables/groceries, managing bank accounts, fixing an electrical fuse or occasional cleaning of fan/mixer/toaster and many more such jobs.


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