My Mom had some skills she wanted us to learn before we were adults. They were (in no particular order):
1 - Learn how to type
2 - Learn how to drive (and drive a manual transmission - stick shift)
3 - Learn how to swim
4 - Learn an instrument
So I've been thinking recently about which of these skills I want my children to learn.
I don't think the typing/keyboarding is going to be a problem for anyone from my children's generation.
I doubt the driving thing will be a problem either. I was so excited about learning to drive and getting my license (and the freedom that entailed). I took my driver's test the day after my sixteenth birthday. Now, my children might not feel the same excitement, but I get the feeling they might. The stick shift part may be more difficult, but still should be possible.
As my husband is a musician - I don't think the instrument will be an issue either.
I was thinking the other day that we needed to enroll my children in swimming lessons. We still might.
And then I realized - *I* could teach them to swim!
One of my sisters worked as a lifeguard at a local pool for years. She taught official lessons and private lessons. As long as I took one child at a time, I don't think it would actually be too difficult. I could still enroll them, and I might. But I don't think it would be out of the realm of my ability. Teaching simple things like, putting one's head under the water, blowing bubbles, kicking on the side of the pool, dead man's float.
Some of my other goals to teach my children (or make sure they learn before they leave my home):
1 - How to sew on a button
2 - How to change a tire and/or the oil on your car
3 - How to disagree without being disagreeable AND to say no gracefully
4 - How to (somewhat) manage your money (i.e., not spend it the day after you get it)
5 - How to read a map of a public transportation system (will this be necessary with GPS and blackberries?)
6 - How to make basic meals (how to cook) and do laundry (separate dark and light clothes)
My freshman year of college, one of my roommates shared that she had no idea how to boil water. I couldn't/can't imagine not being able to cook even the simplest of meals (boiled eggs or hot dogs). Other friends had no idea how to do laundry and waited for their parents to show up to get clean clothes. Now, I was at times almost TOO independent - but I think some of these skills are simply part of adulthood.
One can, of course, pay someone to change the oil on your car. But it's nice to be able to choose that, and to know you *could* change the oil yourself if you had to.