A study in Great Britain recently showed that dependence on technology was making some basic skills obsolete. Since technology is wonderful but fickle, these skills should still be taught because you never know when that gadget or technologically advanced do-dad might stop working.
1- Reading a map. Seems simple enough but with GPS widely available who even buys printed maps anymore let alone uses them. Luckily I am old enough to know how to use a map to get where-ever I might be going but unfortunately folding the map properly after I am finished using it is still a mystery to me.
2- Using a compass. I was never a Boy Scout so this is one piece of old tech that is a mystery to me. I know a compass will point true North but if I want to go any other direction I will probably be the old guy fumbling around unfolding that paper map.
3- Tying knots: I can tie my shoelaces but any knot other than that I can-knot.
4- Darn socks: I usually say that phrase as I am tossing those socks with a hole in them away. Sorry, sewing is not one of my super powers.
5- Looking something up in an actual book: Ah, I do use this method to find quotes in my Bible, and I am old enough to remember using reference books and encyclopedias to do my school work.
6- Cursive hand-writing: You betcha I still practice my cursive writing skills on occasion. I did not suffer all that pain from having wooden rulers smacked across my knuckles when writing sloppily as a child in grade school. Pain is a great motivator.
7- Understanding weights and measures: Not a problem for me. Pounds, ounces, feet or inches I got it covered. Now if you try to use that metric system made popular is some foreign, uneducated country like Canada, well sir aside from knowing the 9MM is a popular bullet caliber my metrics is messy.
8- Good spelling and grammar: Well I admit spell chick er check is my friend while blogging or writing e-mails. If I am writing I will look up a word I might have trouble spelling correctly. Used to use and old-fashioned book dictionary but now Google works just fine. Grammar? Well I do the best I can but I still feel a cold draft when I have a dangling participle.
9- Starting a fire from scratch: I usually have matches handy so this skill is beyond me. Since I stopped smoking cigars my Zippo has been retired. Might have to look at some survival videos to learn this skill.
10- Knitting or crocheting: Now I am manly enough to admit I did attempt to learn these skills but like ironing, I realized my limitations and surrendered quickly.
11- Recall phone numbers: Since I became a cell phone user I have to admit there are very few numbers I have committed to memory. 911, sure. Other that that……what was I talking about?
12- Identifying tress, insects and flowers: OK now let me see if I can do this…..Trees are the usually big wooden looking things with green leaves that provide shade in the summer and raking chores in the fall. Insects are those tiny buzzing critters that annoy me when I am outside in the heat and humidity of summer. Flowers are those colorful green things coming up from the ground that either smell wonderful or cause my eyes to water and make me sneeze. How did I do?
13- Touch typing: No sir, tried it and don’t like it. But in my defense I can hunt and peck at a keyboard enough to blog or e-mail at will.
14- Baking bread from scratch: Well if I had a recipe handy and the ingredients required I probably could. Otherwise the bakery at my local supermarket is convenient.
15- Altering pants: Needle and thread ain’t my thing. I admit it. Rolling up the pants leg will have to do for this old guy.
16- Wiring a plug: Now I have successfully done this without electrocuting myself or burning the house down. However I don’t tempt fate often and will ask for help from someone I know who has a far more knowledgeable intellect concerning electricity.
Well there you have it. Basic skills that technology is replacing. How many can you perform skillfully?