Recently, I read this article about about skills your grandma had that we (ie, folks nowadays) don’t.
I figured it would feature things like “talking face-to-face instead of electronically,” and yes, there’s a nod to that, but some of the other “skills” listed kind of surprised me. Number one was “cooking from scratch.” Maybe it’s because of my menu planning and my basic frugality, but I’d never considered that people today don’t have the “skill” of cooking and baking. Honestly, I don’t consider it a skill — it just takes time and planning. Then again, I suppose those are two things in short supply these days. But is it harder to cook today than it was 30 years ago? I don’t know.
The article discussed sewing, quilting, and darning. I know that only a few would sew their own clothes these days. It has surprised me, though, to see how few people can do things like re-hem a pair of too-long pants or sew on a button. Years back, when I was teaching, another teacher offered to pay me to hem some pants for her husband. It was surprising to me because I just assumed everyone could do that. The article mentions part of the problem here being that home ec classes are being dropped by schools. I’m not sure that’s a major factor, though. My girls have taken the (required) middle school home ec classes, and the only sewing involved was to hand-sew a pillow (which I might add sounds like a mighty cumbersome way to make a pillow!). I doubt that the kids who’ve taken these classes would feel comfortable doing sewing repairs as adult.
Canning — and ironing “really well” — well, they’ve got me there. I honestly don’t have much interest in getting all the equipment needed to can, and I’ve done fine with freezing garden fare. I do iron — very occasionally — but I’ll free admit I’m not great at ironing sleeves or other tricky things. Same with “haggling” — did people really do that a lot in the good ‘ol days? I am uncomfortable trying to get someone to take less for something they’re offering for sale (and when I have a garage sale, I don’t like it when someone tries to get my .50 shirt for a quarter!)
Another one I relate to is writing letters. I miss these. I remember writing a letter home each week when I was in college, and on into my young adult life. Long distance phone calls were pretty expensive (remember standing with your hand over the receiver, calling out, “Hurry up! It’s LONG DISTANCE!?), and of course there were no texts or emails. No, I never used the beautiful fountain pens, but I did write many a letter. Now, other than writing notes in cards to people, I don’t write letters at all. I don’t receive any, either. I kind of miss that.
What about you? Can you think of any skills that older people have that the younger generation is missing out on?