Life skills

potatoes and pot

Recently a local school district removed life skills (aka home economics) from their high school curriculum. I do not think that was a wise move, but then again, nobody asked me. It’s a wonder to me every single day that more people don’t ask me more about the things they choose to do. I know things. I swear I do.


The thing is, I have to admit that most of what I learned in my high school life skills course in the 80s (that’s 1980s, not 1880s) was not exactly cutting edge. I have never, not once, used my knowledge of making pudding from scratch. Nor have I ever scrubbed the drip tray from beneath a refrigerator.

Do they even have drip trays these days? I have no idea. I hope not. If we do, mine is definitely disgusting.

This does not mean that I don’t believe that life skills classes are needed. They are necessary. I just think we may need to broaden our focus. It’s great to know all about the hydrologic cycle and the Louisiana Purchase. It is imperative to know that medium-rare poultry should never be a thing.

It is also great to know how to sew on a button and change a tire. However, today’s young people have YouTube for that. There is a video for every little thing out there. It is the broader life lessons that seem to elude too many people until much later in life — if ever.


Save money. Even if it’s just $1 per paycheck. Credit terms are basically mob deals. Try to pay cash when necessary and try not to pay too much.

Speaking of money, ownership is not the key to happiness. Your things do not make you who you are.

Don’t use someone else’s mirror to see your true reflection. Certainly not an image that was created when you were thirteen years old, give or take. You are allowed to change. Who you are in high school is not really you. Four years does not define you.

Five minutes after graduation, no one cares if you were voted most popular, the quarterback or a loner. You can be the athletic computer geek, artist or introvert who works as a party planner.

Trust yourself

Only you can live your life. Adult life is freedom. That comes with a lot of fear. Lean into it. Feel the fear and do it anyway. Career. Travel. Hobbies. Maybe not skydiving. Anything else though? If it’s legal — go for it.

Your feet will generally carry you throughout your life. Choose good shoes. Those of us who didn’t pay for it later. I’m looking at you, three-inch heels I wore in the 1990s.

Coupons are only useful if they are used toward something you would buy anyway. Ditto sale prices. Not buying anything at all is 100% free. I’m just tossing this in here because it seems practical.

Always R.S.V.P. To everything. It is rude not to and is a reflection on your character when you don’t. My great-grandmother would want you to know that.

When in doubt, say yes to new adventures. Your instincts are right. If you have gotten to adulthood without any tragic issues of your own choosing, it’s safe to say that you have a pretty good track record of making good choices. If your instinct tells you to stop and do another thing instead, it’s probably the right thing to do.

Your parents and others are now in support positions. They may advise. They should not steer.


Ask for what you want and pay attention to what you get in every stage of life, love and career. People cannot read your mind. Be clear in your goals and intentions. If the response to your clear request does not suit what you want, that is a sign you are in the wrong place. Move on.

Speaking of which, you will find love. It is possible you already have. Don’t let anyone tell you it’s not real. It probably is.

That said, forever is a very long time and marriage is nothing like prom night. Be sure to fall in love with your own self and be at peace with who you are — and who they are — before you settle down.

Do not give up your educational or career opportunities for family, friends, a fiance or fear. Embrace your journey and focus on yourself. Youth is one time in life when it is almost imperative to be a bit selfish. If a relationship is meant to be your person will still be there when you’ve reached your goals.


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Warm, witty and just a wee bit warped, Kymberly Foster Seabolt is a native of Kent, Ohio, who survived childhood exposure to disco and grew up to marry and move to the country. Her column weaves her special brand of humor with poignant, entertaining, and honest portrayals of parenting, marriage, and real life. She currently lives in northeastern Ohio with her husband, two children, two dogs, two cats, and numerous dust bunnies who wish to remain nameless.


  1. HOO-RAH! Miss Kym!

    ’bout time someone started speaking truth: “Fear?”

    Lean into it!

    The nonsense taught in a lot of these public schools today is toxic–pure and simple. Kids coming out of HS today are afraid of their own shadows! Our Dads, Uncles, and Brothers commanded platoons of fighting men storming beaches in WW2, Korea, and Viet Nam at age 19.

    Teach life skills like Home Ec, Mechanics, Ag, hunting, fishing, outdoor life.


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