Things everybody should know how to do


I am getting ready to go to London this week and realized that I needed a pair of pants hemmed.  Got out the sewing machine and did it.  I could have done it by hand too.  Have showed the girls how to do this before but am going to drive it home once more and show Josh too. 

There are a bunch of things that we have tried to do before sending our kids off in the world.  Basic skills.  They are still missing a few from the below list due to age.  They are missing the CPR piece and possibly how to jump start a dead battery in a car and Josh could certainly use a little practice in telling a story, short and sweet but otherwise, they are doing pretty good. 

There are a few things that everybody should know how to do.

Sew on a button ( hem something if need be but I might be stretching the boundaries here )
Roast a chicken
Waltz ( I really think that at one point before college everybody should learn how to dance at a wedding )
Live on a budget
Bake chocolate chip cookies
Make rice
Open a bottle of champagne, without taking someone out
Open a bottle of wine
Speak in front of a group although some people are not cut out for this
Learn CPR or basic first aid
Parallel park (I'd add how to drive a stick but that might be pushing it – Jessica can)
Know your alcohol limit
Have a firm handshake and look someone in the eye when doing it
Read a map
Clean a house
Jump start a dead battery in a car
Tell a story, short and sweet

Am open to any other ideas out there…

Comments (Archived):

  1. kara

    Write a thank you letter (a proper one, hand written)Write a letter of condolence (same as above)Cook a basic meal not out of a can or a package (nothing fancy, just something quick and nutritious)Balance a checkbook (pref w/out using a computer)

    1. Gotham Gal

      Write a thank you letter is a great addition. I am not sure the nextgeneration is ever going to have to balance a checkbook….sort of strange,right?

  2. skysurfer172

    The next generation will know how to Google whatever it is they need to do.

    1. Gotham Gal

      LOL. That is for sure. My son was making something in the kitchen and hewas using his iPhone to get some help because he had downloaded the recipe.It was hilarious.

  3. ahoova

    must be able to do their own laundry.

    1. Gotham Gal

      Yes, yes, yes. That’s a good one.

  4. Yule Heibel

    That’s a great list (and good additions from comments, too). I think I have some aspects to work on… Waltz? Fail! Not sure I could do “jump start a car” either. Hmm… 😉

    1. Gotham Gal

      I can barely Waltz (I tend to lead) but love a man who canjoanne [email protected]

    2. GraemeHein

      Jump starting a car betrays one’s geography – above a certain latitude/altitude EVERYONE knows how to do this. You don’t have to go too far upstate in NY before it’s an absolutely critical skill.In areas where everyone does know, the major problem stems from the design of upper end foreign cars – batteries in late model Mercedes, Volvo, etc aren’t on top of the engine. There’s a hardpoint where you can get a boost, but you can’t rescue someone else. Truly painful to have car trouble in a nice neighborhood!

      1. Gotham Gal

        Very true. If you live in a cold rural area and you don’t know how to jumpstart a car, you are basically screwed.

  5. marilynmm

    These are greatWrite a checkWrite a Letter to the Editor (short helps)Write a letter of concern or complaintOrder one red and one white /relatedly how to host a business meal and how to be a guest at a business mealThe thank you note and sympathy note are great-I might add a congratulations noteWrite a resumeWrite a letter of recommendationOrder flowersBuy shoes online or off (difference between say sneaker size and real shoe size)Use post office/automated machine thereUse Fed Ex / UPSMake a dr. appt / Call a dr. for a problemDecline/delay a medical test or procedureFind / select a repair personApt. hunt

    1. Gotham Gal

      All good. Writing a check will be obsolete in years to come, I’m afraid. I love “order flowers”joanne [email protected]

  6. Name

    make a salad , and dressing

    1. Gotham Gal

      Yes, a dressing. The classic vinaigrette.joanne [email protected]

  7. Jill Stern

    This post rings true. I admit I need to teach most of these to my kids still–but we’ll get there. btw: looking forward to some london tips, i plan to take my daughter in the spring.

    1. Gotham Gal

      Feel free to send me an email. Am happy to give u a great list.joanne [email protected]

  8. jane

    Scramble some eggs or make some pancakes.

    1. Gotham Gal

      Definitely, particularly how to make an egg, anyway.joanne [email protected]

    2. Gotham Gal

      Definitely, particularly how to make an egg, anyway.joanne [email protected]

    3. Gotham Gal

      Definitely, particularly how to make an egg, anyway.joanne [email protected]

  9. elaineellis

    I love this blog post. My mom tried her best to instill life skills in my sister and I as well. To this list I’d add: change a tire, add air in tires and check an oil gauge. (I can’t change a tire but need to learn).

    1. Gotham Gal

      Changing a tire is something you have no choice but learn to do when ithappens to you. Prior knowledge would be a bonus.

    2. GraemeHein

      Depends where you are – on a busy interstate it’s just much safer to call for a tow truck, especially if it’s a driver’s side tire.

  10. GraemeHein

    Love your ideas.I’m actually rather surprised about the kids not having the CPR part yet. But then most everyone I knew growing up was aiming to be a camp counselor/lifeguard for a summer or two (or had some other outdoor pursuit that required some fairly advanced first aid skills – ski patrol, ski coach, sailing instructor…). Another environment/geography influence on what “everyone” knows.Beyond a few items that would betray my own idiosyncratic definitions of necessities (design your corporation’s optimal capital structure, write a business & marketing plan…), what’s really lacking are household repair/construction issues. Geography again (not too many people in Manhattan building decks…), and perhaps gender.Diagnose & repair plumbing systemDiagnose & make safe gas/electrical system (leave gas to the professionals, and only do wiring if you really know what you’re doing)Hang a pictureEveryone should know where the shutoffs are (valves/breakers/fuses) and fixing plumbing is very easy, especially with popularity of plastics/nylon for both supply and drains. Hardly even need to know how to use a blowtorch and solder anymore, just 2 part epoxy and screw tightened clamps.

    1. Gotham Gal

      Hang a picture. I like that.Know how to shut off the systems, yes, a very important function.Building a deck….have to think about that one.I learned CPR in High School. It should really be taught to everyone aspart of our education system.

  11. Rita

    I love the original list by Joanne. These are essential things, which tend to be forgotten in our easy lazy life. Like reading the map! Or park your car neatly! Other things might be googled:)

    1. Gotham Gal

      What would we do without Google?