Two things every graduate should know.

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Photo by Alison Marras on Unsplash

At a loss of what to write about, I followed one thought down the path: What do you think children need to learn in school before they graduate?

Five years ago, my answer would have been: Two things — how to balance a checkbook and how to cook a chicken. Speaking from experience, when I first lived on my own, I got in trouble with the bank because I overdrew funds. I didn’t pay attention and didn’t keep my checkbook properly, and when one check bounced, trouble followed. Penalties on top of debt mean more debt, which is doubly-stressing. I learned, very quickly, to avoid that particular mistake. From then on, I diligently and ritualistically wrote down every check written in the check register, and balanced this against my monthly bank statement sent in the mail.

Well, that was then, this is now — all a person has to do is check the app on their phone, log into the account, and make sure they still have enough money to make a particular purchase. Out of all the bills and purchases I have each month, I now write one or two checks each month. Checkbooks are nearly obsolete, as are most physical paper trails. Now, everything is done electronically. So, no, I would no longer include that check register skill as one children have to learn (although there is still need of basic math and at least periodically checking into your account).

However, I continue to believe that everyone, regardless of gender or age, should be able to cook a chicken. One of the cheapest, and leanest, of proteins, chicken is also versatile, with different spices and different styles of left-overs. If you know how to cook it, you can keep yourself fed. Also, it’s a sexy thing to do (yes, competency in the kitchen is a big turn-on), to cook something like that for your significant other — assuming your date isn’t a vegetarian or a vegan. I’ll be open-minded with this chicken concept: If you’re trying to impress a vegetarian, learn how to cook two egg dishes. Eggs are also versatile, high protein choices and two dishes won’t strain your repertoire. And, how can you tell if the person you’re interested in is a vegan? Oh, don’t worry, they’ll tell you. As far as cooking for a vegan is concerned, don’t look at me for answers, I know less than an average tree stump. You’re on your own there.

Then I thought, perhaps children need to know basic stuff about computers after they graduate, but I almost immediately guffawed at myself. Computers are all our children know. Some average kids have trouble reading facial expressions and social cues, but they absolutely know how to get connected to the wi-fi and live-stream interactive gaming apps. That led me to a thought of need — our children need knowledge of psychology and the human mind. They need to be able to understand themselves, to relate to others, to learn about personal well-being and emotional intelligence.

There, one other thing in addition to cooking — our children need to learn about their own minds and understand the minds of others, things like positive psychology, different schools of thoughts and diverging philosophies. They have to be able to understand that the more varied and different people can be, the more shared humanity we can discover. They need to learn that there is no “us” and “them” — in reality, we are all “us.”

Written by

Writer and storyteller, immigrant, wife, mom, knitter, collector of jokes, lover of cheap, sweet wine.

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