I came across an article in the LA Times today about how college students at UC Berkeley have started up an “adulting” course. They created a student-run course to teach life skills to each other because they’re not learning them anywhere else. The question is, why aren’t they learning life skills in life?
One of the students interviewed for the article says that kids don’t learn life skills from their parents because parents don’t trust their kids to be able to handle things. The parents do it for them. Schools have also taken life skills off the curricula in favor of academic courses preparing children for standardized tests.
My take on this is that the kids must resort to teaching each other adulting skills because all of the adults in their lives failed to prepare them for adulthood. Parents, teachers, professors, administrators, and government protection agencies have disempowered children to the point where they don’t know how to take care of themselves when they grow up.
Presumably, these adults had good intentions to protect the children and give them the academic skills they thought were needed to succeed in life. Or is it that they felt the need to control their children’s lives to fulfill their own insecurities? In either case, the outcome is the same: many young adults are missing critical skills to succeed in life.
It is troubling to see that the college students don’t trust the adults, just as the adults don’t trust the kids. And we wonder why there’s such a strong generational divide!
I offer a small solution, my book, Flying without a Helicopter: How to Prepare Young People for Work and Life. I wrote this book because I saw how this problem was arising and I wanted to help young people (and their parents) prepare for life. I’m there for young people and old. If you want to talk, schedule a meeting with me, free of charge. I am an adult who supports adulting.
Another solution I offer is building trust between the generations. My Collaborating Across Generations workshop helps people in the different generations better understand each other and work together. We need less Millennial bashing and fewer “OK Boomer” comments and more leveraging of our different perspectives and work styles.