Schools need more basic training

By Steve Estes

Sometimes, lessons need to be learned

I’m beginning to believe that our schools need to branch out their educational programs to include some basic life skills.

Nope, not tying shoes or anything as mundane as that. Parents should take care of that.

What I’m talking about is something I thought people just took for granted.

The first program I would like to see implemented is one called, “Phone Book 101.”

I have no idea how much the telephone companies make from folks who use directory assistance, but I can guess that it’s a small fortune.

The charges for directory assistance are anywhere from 75 cents to $1.25, sometimes more. If our kids need just five assists a month in finding a telephone number, that adds up to a pretty chunk over the course of a year. Multiply that by the number of kids using the service, and it’s a very sizeable chunk of change indeed.

It’s not all kids. Adults get lazy, too and don’t use the phone book.

But most adults I’ve met know how to use a phone book. Many of the kids I’ve been around in the last 10 years don’t know how a phone book is set up.

Phone Book 101 could teach them that skill. And the phone book is free.

I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard someone asking for the phone number to a particular person or place. I always tell them look it up. Unless they have the number stored in their handy cell phone index, they dial the local directory assistance number, and a charge ensues.

When I tell them look it up they get this face. You’ve seen the face. You get the same face from your puppy when you tell it not to eat the popcorn off the plate just because it can reach it.

Of course, as parents we can help the cause. Keep the phone book out in the open, not holding up a table leg or used as a bookend on the desk.

By keeping it out in the open it serves as a constant reminder that it is a viable source of information. It also makes it more accessible when, to punctuate your point of “look it up,” you grab it off the table and pitch it at the offending questioner.

The other class they need to teach is “Bank Account 101.”

It amazes me the number of people, young or old, who can’t fill out a check or read a bank statement. I wonder how they’ll get along later when they have to be responsible for their own money.

Again, we as parents should be taking some hand in these tasks, but our kids know everything they need to know and they learned it in kindergarten, so we’re just sores on their butt for their teenage years when this becomes important to the next level of their lives.

Again, to facilitate the training process, we should keep their bankbook out in the open somewhere in the house. When they ask for money, pick up the bankbook and pitch it at their head. If they can figure out how much they have, make them adjust the request. If they can’t figure out how much they have, don’t give them any. They’ll learn quickly, I’ll bet.

When they want money for shopping, tell them if they can write the check, they can spend the money. Refuse to hand over cash. We’ll get them up to speed soon.

The other class everyone needs is “Tire Changing 101.”

This is particularly important for our ladies. There are some lug nuts that are just too stiff for folks to remove. But know how to remove them. When someone stops, and they will for the female of the species, (us guys, we’d die of heat stroke before we’d get a compassionate passer-by) at least our ladies can show them where the spare and jack and lug wrench are in the vehicle so help can be provided.

I won’t advocate pitching lug wrenches at those who don’t take the class (They might pitch those back.)

But perhaps, to reinforce the idea that it is a good idea to know, maybe we could go let the air out of their tires once a month or so.

Hey wait, that’s not a bad idea for a lot of folks I know.
Nah. That would be rude.
But then again, I am rude.
Now where’s that square-head screwdriver of mine?

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