THE BLOG
10/07/2013 11:37 am ET | Updated Jan 23, 2014

Tools for Living

I'm a psychotherapist and as such I work with a lot of adolescents. Many of "my kids" are in their senior year and off to college next year. When we talk about what concerns them most about leaving home and being on their own, I am surprised about how little they know about living in the real world.

For example, not one of them can cook... anything. I see four years of kids downing cereal and calling it a meal.

Aside from inserting an ATM card, if they had to write a check and keep accurate details of that, it would not happen. Most have never even seen a check. If they had a plumbing issue or electrical issue or other apartment issue, they would be at a loss as to who to call.

My own daughter made the mistake of dropping her compact down the toilet, and I arrived at her apartment to find her roommate's boyfriend trying to rescue it by a hanger. Clearly this was an issue that required having the toilet lifted to retrieve the compact and get the toilet working again.

Why is it that kids do not realize that if they get their hair going down the drain, the drain will get clogged? And how many of them know how to open the drain to clear it? It's easier to call a $175/hour plumber. How many know how to go to a market and unit price their purchases thus saving over hundreds of dollars over a semester? Very few.

How many know about hand-washing clothes or which goes to the dry cleaner so it does not get ruined or how to really use a washer and dryer so all the underwear does not turn pink? And why is it that rather than give kids a free period in 11th and 12th grade -- as most schools do -- they cannot insert a program called, "Tools for Living," so that when they get out in the world, they actually know what to do?

The list goes on and the incompetence and lack of knowledge are truly ridiculous. These home-economics educational issues are as important as chemistry and algebra II -- two topics most kids will never use again. But they will go to the store. They will try to do their laundry. They may someday try to buy a car or a house.

Do they know how all this works? No. And this isn't one of those joke blogs. It's real with the hopes that some school districts actually read and pay attention to what their student do not know about the tools for living.