Me, Sher, and Ad

Me, Sher, and Ad
Bro Adam and sis Sher, my rocks!

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Skills My Parents Taught Me

This morning I was fumbling around in the dark for my shoes. I was sleepy and groggy from the dry heat in the bedroom. I usually turn it down right before bed but forgot the previous night, thus waking up to stifling heat and a foggy mind. I grabbed a shoe, put it on, and absent-mindedly tied it. I grabbed the other one and did the same. Both shoes were successfully tied. I thought back for a split second to when my Mom and Dad taught me how to tie my shoe laces. I must've been like 5 years old. I remember getting so frustrated because I couldn't grasp it.  But I got it, and here was I, at age 45, tying my shoes blindly in the dark. It's one of those skills which we were taught and take for granted now that we are adults.

It was then I looked down and realized I had two different shoes on! I laughed out loud thinking "Well one out of two ain't bad!"

Driving to work, I began to think of other tasks and skills I learned that my parents have taught me. These are lifelong skills which I often take for granted but felt I needed to acknowledge as sort of a thank you to my folks. Skill sets are essential to leading a fairly successful life. My folks, I feel, set me up just fine.

The earliest skill I remember was my mother teaching me how to drink out of a glass at age 3 of 4. We lived in the Crossings Apartments in Glassboro, NJ. I was standing just inside the kitchen and she handed me a green glass with apple juice in it. (To this day, apple juice is still my favorite juice.) Mom said something along the lines of "Now be careful, hold it with both hands." It was the first time I drank out of an actual glass. Amazing I can still remember it as clear as yesterday.

Speaking of drinking, Mom also taught me a little trick in college. She was a little worried about my drinking habits in my fraternity and didn't want me to go overboard. Mom said to me that if I ever did not want to drink at a party (um, yeah right), I could get a club soda and lime and just say it was a vodka club soda. Now Mom and Dad attended their fair share of house parties in Wenonah where we grew up. This was her little trick of staying sober in the midst of the drunken neighborly madness of the 70s and 80s. I never used this trick in my 20s BUT in my 40s, I have used it and each time, give a silent thanks to my Mom.

Now Dad taught me how to ride my bike. We had a great sidewalk in the front of our home in Wenonah with ivy bushes on one side to fall into. I remember seeing the bike with training wheels and being so apprehensive watching him take them off. I got on the seat at the one end of the sidewalk. With Dad balancing the bike I began to peddle with him running behind me. With a big push, I was off! I was doing it! I was riding my bike without training wheels! But how to stop? Unceremoniously, I fell into the ivy bushes and began screaming.

Mom taught me how to do my laundry for college. Whites with whites, darks with darks, colors with colors. Try and keep reds separate. And to be safe, wash everything on cold! It worked and I only ended up with pink underwear once in college.

I remember Dad spending time with each of us kids on our cars. He taught me how to change a tire, put air in the tires, pump gas, and check the oil. There we were, leaning over the hot engine, I was pulling out the dipstick and checking the oil levels with Dad guiding me. I learned the hard way to not touch a hot car engine. Dad said in his ever calm voice, "Now don't touch that, it's hot. You'll burn yourself." Oh I still did, burning my hand.

Speaking of which, I remember Mom telling me not to touch the electric stove at my boyhood home on Maple Street in Wenonah. And yet I did, resulting in a circular burn mark on my palm from the burner. That happened only once, too.  :-(

Mom more successfully taught me how to wash the dishes. But I remember her frustration at my bad dishing washing, exclaiming, "You need more soap. These are greasy!"  LOL  Hmmm. That's probably why I only buy high quality dish soap now. I'm kinda nuts about it now. (See my last blogpost!

Dad also taught me to shave with an electric razor. I used to pretend to shave myself with Dad looking on before I grew peach-fuzz. This is a quite common experience/memory among us guys. Your dad puts shaving cream on your cheeks and chin and then pretends to help you to shave off the nonexistent hair. My Dad did that with both Adam and I. Then one Christmas, my parents bought me my first electric razor! After a couple years of using the electric I switched to the manual razors in college. These days, I trim my beard with an electric clippers and shave only on special occasions because of my sensitive skin. I am such a sensitive guy. LOL

Lastly, both parents taught Sheryl, Adam, and I how to balance our checkbooks. We started with a passbook savings account for each of us. Obviously kids don't learn this skill anymore. Bank accounts are all electronic and you can check the balance online. When I go to the bank, I sometimes I see an adult still using the old fashioned checkbook. I smile and think back to my parents and how they patiently showed me how to enter the amounts which I deposited and withdrew. As an adult, I seem to do a bit more withdrawing from my accounts than depositing!

Whomever taught you your skills: your folks, your siblings, grandparents, older adults  and or friends, be thankful that they took the time to show you specific abilities to help you succeed in this world. Make sure as a responsible adult that you pass on the knowledge you've learned to the next generation. Be patient as well, for you may have a kid like me who will still touch a hot stove even if you tell them not to.


  1. It's good to remember such things while you can. I don't remember anyone teaching me anything. I fact I don't remember most of what I was taught. I do remember when I was a two fisted drinker with a beer in each hand. Now I have to wrap two fists around a sippy cup to drink my coffee or around a can of Diet Coke (no glass allowed). Oh well.

    1. Thanks Lou. I try and get this stuff down for future generations of my family while while I still remember it. :)