My children don’t have a chance to be resourceful. In the community I live in they have no need to do some basic things that other kids in other situations do. This is either because of how we live, or because of where we live. Most houses have hired help here in Saudi regardless of the size of the house or the finances of the family. A maid’s starting salary monthly is only about $400. The point is I have decided to make a mental list (or here a digital one) of the things I want my children to learn how to do.
1- Cook. They don’t need to be master chefs but I want them to know enough about where their food comes from, how to cook basic things and not ruin them, how to use an oven and other kitchen appliances, how to cut up food and use use sharp kitchen tools effectively. This will help them when they go to college so that they do not end up living off pasta and cappuccino as I did!
2- Use public transportation and read maps. Two things they don’t have to do here ever. We don’t have proper public transportation to speak of and thanks to GPS navigators no need for maps. Besides, Riyadh roads are pretty straight forward and most directions sound like this “go to takhasusi road north till you come to the flower shop called blahdi blah then turn right and go straight ahead take the third left and it’s the blue gate on the right.” So this is something I have to work on when we’re traveling. It shouldn’t be too difficult. I was a total and utter idiot trying to use the tube when I was in london and having the people behind me at the automated ticket thing want to kill me while I stared at all the lines on the map trying to find out which ticket I needed.
3- Learn how to pay bills. Yes, this is important because it is a skill I also didn’t have to deal with while I lived at my parents house and don’t have to deal with now (except for my mobile bill which I pay online with a click on a button). I learned how to do that when I lived in London again after I got married. All the other house bills here my husband deals with (which I am grateful for) I am not completely useless though I do handle the grocery budget relatively competently lol. But I want my kids to know how it works, how to budget for certain expenses and manage their money. They can start by managing their mobile phone bills (once they are old enough to get a mobile that is). Later on we can give them a more active role in managing the household expenses.
4- How to travel. Meaning: How to book plane tickets, how to pack properly, how to make sure you have all the documents needed for your travel, how to arrange accommodation and transportation on the other side. My sisters and I have always been good at this since we have traveled on our own a lot since a relatively young age. The first time I traveled on my own I was about 14 and you could throw us in the middle of any airport and we’ll sort our selves out.
5-Do their washing. I am terrible at this! In this region of the world almost every house has some sort of hired help as salaries here are very affordable so you don’t have to be super rich to have house help. Therefor we have never really learned how to wash our own clothes. I can iron stuff and not burn them 9 times out of 10. I want my kids to know how to use a washing machine and not ruin everything they own.
6- All my kids need to learn how to drive. Meaning the boys actually have to take proper lessons and my daughter needs to do so as well. Women are bound to drive here by the time she turns 16 and she will have to have a good foundation and learn good driving sense as well as basic car maintenance.
7-How to be Organized! This is a skill that needs to be taught. How to take care of their things, organize their school papers, keep lists to track tasks that need to be done. etc. This is particularly difficult when you live in a city where everyone has domestic help. Most of the time things are cleared away before the children have a chance to do it. And no matter how many times I explain that the kids have to do it it seems to get done by someone else!