Special skills for children

Ashok Sharma
It is said that adversity is a bliss.One who has not faced adverse times cannot prosper in good times and in order to rise in life,one needs to fall.In the olden days, life was very tough and in the midst of hardships and scarce resources,people had to work hard to keep themselves alive and support their families.Parents even taught their children odd jobs such as bringing water in pitchers from the natural springs, stitching,picking up fruit and vegetables,arranging fodder for the cattle,sowing and growing vegetables,putting cord in their pyjamas,going to water mills to have the grains ground into flour etc.In doing so, they trained the children to learn the valuable skills such as self reliance, discipline,adaptability to the changed situations,etc. But the times have now changed a lot and so has the lifestyle of people.Parents now pamper their children so much that they go around doing and managing everything for the children with the result that they have become totally dependent on the former.
But little do the parents realize that they can’t manage things for the children all their life and it is their children who may have to face the worst in future.So it is imperative that children are taught the basic essential skills & jobs of life, which should help them in rising to the precarious situation in future if they encounter any.
Every child must be equipped in skills such as cooking rice, chapatis, vegetables, pulses, etc. They must know how to peel, chop & grate vegetables and how to pick out unwanted things such as stones,pieces of straw etc from the pulses, rice etc.Children must also be imparted training in self defence so that they can defend themselves when trapped in a precarious situations.
They ought to be made aware of the basic health care including importance of personal hygiene and sanitation and how to administer the first aid in times of minor bruises and injuries in case their parents are not near them.Similarly, while going out for shopping for grocery and other items, parents ought to take their children with them to expose them to the experience of shopping skills so that shopkeepers don’t cheat them by supplying them expired items or indulging himself in unscruplous activities such as under weighing and supplying spurious things.
They must also be well versed in using the gas stoves, grinding spices and simple processes of frying, roasting and baking common foods. Parents must actively involve them while preparing dough and turning it into chapatis and pranthas and aware them about the precautions to be observed while using gas stoves. When exposed to these experiences, children can learn these skills quickly as they are active learners. Then there are some other odd jobs that everybody is expected to do at one or the other phase of his/her life. These jobs include putting cord in the pyjamas, washing, drying and ironing clothes, handkerchiefs and undergarments, preparing bed, polishing shoes and tying laces, sewing simple clothes, stitching buttons in the shirts and trousers, folding the garments and bedsheets nicely, putting garments in the hangers, precautions to be observed while spraying pesticides and insecticides to protect cloths and kill mosquitoes and other such insects, winnowing food grains such as maize, rice, wheat etc.
While girls should know how to knit sweaters, boys should be trained how to shave their beard. Children ought also to be trained in the art of washing the utensils and in fact, it should be made mandatory for every member of the family to clean his/her plate and bowls after taking meals. They must be encouraged to sweep the rooms and maintain cleanliness and sanitation in and around their home.
They must also be imparted training in the use of various agricultural implements such as shovel, spade, scythe,sickle and encouraged in the art of kitchen gardening. They must know how and when to sow the seeds of various vegetables and kharief and Rabi crops.At the same time, children must be trained in the art of using screw drivers to conduct minor repairs of electric iron, door handles, etc which often need repair due to wear and tear with the passage of time.
Last but not least,every child must know how to swim so that they can dave themselves in case they are trapped in flash floods.Involving and training them in all these activities will make them confident and self reliant on the one hand,while on the other hand,it will develop in them interpersonal skills,critical thinking, creativity,dignity of labour and they will regard no work as low or mean but feel that every work is equally important having its unique importance in their life. Now that we are passing through the period of lockdown, parents can utilize their time to involve their children in household activities.