I read an incredible Oprah article Domestic Help(November issue, p.38), written by Marcia DeSanctis, how she, as a mother, is teaching her son how to take care of himself and run a home before he leaves her home to go off to College and more importantly live life on his own.

I strongly believe that this is one of the best things we can do for our children. Marcia DeSanctis realized when she asked her 17 1/2 year old son to help with dinner that he was very unfamiliar with the basics. She asked him for a colander and he turned to his her and said, “What’s a colander again?”

It was then and there that she realized that she took care of her son however did she teach him all that he needed to know: Could he boil water? Sew on a button? Wash his clothes without turning them pink? She knew her time was limited as he was leaving the house for College within a year!

She knew there was no way she was going to let her son leave the house unprepared. So she came up with plan: she’d enrol her son in a private home ec course, taught by mom. She would show him how to make an omelette, stitch a simple hem … so that he’d be self-sufficient.

She spent 2 hours, three days a week with him. She put together a home ec plan like one that she was taught when she was younger. She taught him to cook — he learned to prepare a tomato sauce for Spaghetti carbonara, to season a chicken for roasting and how to prepare sliced mangoes with lime zest for dessert.

He learned to mend clothes — a skill that ran in his family as three of the four grandparents were tailors. He learned to quickly master the basics – mend a split seam or refastening a button.

He even learned advanced laundry, in which he learned never to mix a red sweatshirt with white shorts or put sweaters in the dryer.

In the course of learning her son realized how much her mother does to take care of a home.

The learning was more than one way, Marcia also learned her own lessons. She posted 4 ways to help your son/child learn to keep house:

1. Abandon at least some of your rules. If he wants to live out of the clean-laundry basket occasionally, let him. No one will suffer.

2. Stress safety above all. Typical infraction among teenagers, based on Marcia’s observation: leaving the room when something is boiling on the stove. Keep safety top of mind.

3. Write down your recipes in a notebook, along with 20 rules he can use as a guide (for example, always double the olive oil; if you don’t have fresh basil, don’t use any at all; clean up as you go!).

4. Make a small sewing kit that includes black, brown, navy, and white thread. She used a cigar box that held her son’s Digimon cards!.

I hope this article inspires parents or a parent or guide to take the time to show your child/children basic life skills. Too often I see a child being coddled to the point of disabled and then we wonder why our children are incapable of making decisions, even at the most basic level. They may be well educated — useless if you cannot take care of yourself!

I believe this is our role as parents: providing life skills so our children can “leave the nest” and begin to live their life.

I want to wish everyone a wonderful weekend.

All my love,

Sandra

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