December 10, 2008

Whaddya Know?

Not long ago a young friend of mine in his 20's had a flat tire. He ended his tale of the flat-tire adventure with a big sigh saying, "I am SO lucky Darren happened by!"

This morning a colleague of mine stuck his head into my office and said, "I have to run down the road for a minute. A belt on my son's truck came off and he doesn't know how to get it back on."

As I sit here sipping tea, I think about how it's a rarity these days that people know how to do basic stuff. Admittedly I don't know much at all about cars so I'd be at a loss with a rogue belt, but I *do* know how to change a tire, little ole me, although I'm not sure I'm strong enough to unscrew those pesky lug nuts.

Part of the mystique of characters like James Bond and McGyver is that they have knowledge and ingenuity. Where are the people like that? Why aren't MORE people like that? It's not like you actually have to pay for that knowledge. Talk to your parents or grandparents. They know lots of stuff. Read a book, look on the Internet. There are lots of great how-to sites.

My husband and I are raising two boys. I want them to be good at things, to be confident and capable, to be problem solvers. I like the idea of them having a few old-fashioned values and I want them to "know stuff".

What do you think is valuable for people to know? I started my own list. Can you help me add to it?

I think everyone over the age of 18 should know how to:

  • change a tire
  • shake hands
  • make gravy
  • write a proper thank you note
  • make paper airplanes
  • iron a shirt
  • sew on a button
  • make coffee
  • read a map
  • jumpstart a car
  • unclog a toilet
  • use a compass
  • grow vegetables
  • swim
  • tie useful knots
  • balance a checkbook
  • drive a car
  • ride a bike
  • make fire
  • perform CPR and basic first aid
  • the Heimlich maneuver

This is just a start. I was tempted to add "when to stop talking" and "how to kill someone with your thumb" but those are probably subjective and would not be on everyone's list. (One of those is on my list of things to learn... I'll let you wonder which one!)

I know there are so many more and we haven't even gotten to YOURS yet. Tell me what is on your list!


  1. thanks for the comment and for being my first "follower" :)

    and i thoroughly enjoyed your list as well. i'd better get started on learning the heimlich maneuver and cpr...

  2. Roomie, I had fun at your blog. Thanks for the return visit. Regarding the list... I'm making the world a better place one blogger at a time. :)

    Envie... where is your to-do list??

  3. Hi Wendy,

    Wonderful entry and beautiful blog! I am raising two kids, a son and daughter, and agree wholeheartedly with your list!

    My addition would be: know when to say, "I'm sorry"

    Thank you for your kind words on my blog. I appreciate your prayers.


  4. Loved the list. If only all parents would consider that list!

    Thanks for the comment on my page. As a new blogger I really appreciate that.


  5. Use a sewing machine and cook a roast are on my list as well as everything you had. I knew how to do all of it but make gravy by the time I was 18. And wouldn't you but know it? My first *real* job was as a home health aide and the woman I cared for asked me to make her mashed potatoes and gravy from scratch. You never know when it's going to come up.

  6. Amy, thanks for your kind words! Your addition to the list is a good one. That old cliche lyric "sorry seems to be the hardest word" is really true sometimes!

    Brenda, I agree with you. If you start the movement I will follow along. We'll take it to the streets! (After I finish this cookie I'm working on, of course.)

    Jamie Sue, you go, gravy maker! Oh, the sewing machine is my nemesis. We have a long-standing love-hate relationship. Ironically, I have TWO of them and can't use either. How do things like that happen, anyway?

  7. That's so awesome! I'm actually in the process of writing a Girl's Guide to Getting it Done - things your daddy wouldn't teach you because you're a girl. A bunch of those things are in the book!

  8. that's a good list.
    it reminds me of an incident my daughter had at college. she and her roommate were using jumper cables to start her car (car sat too long in the parking lot) and some boys walked by. So just to act like " helpless girls" they asked the boys to help them. The boys didn't have a clue how to jump a car off - isn't that pitiful? My daughter and her roommate did it by themselves. I'm proud she knew how to take care of it herself.

  9. Ninja... come back and let us know when the book is ready! Sounds great!

    Leslye, I'm glad you came to visit. Thanks for the story you shared about your daughter... how funny! I love your blog. What a special thing to be able to do with your daughter. I wish my mom and I could do a project like this. We have VERY different tastes on what is "cool and creative". We'd never be able to agree on what to do!

  10. I encourage people to keep a 12V tire compressor in their car so they can avoid most tire changing. I have only had to change one tire because it was *destroyed* during a blowout in about the last 20 years. They are available at places like Wal-Mart for around $30 or less.


Tell me what's on your mind!