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Haylee Linton

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UK Pagan

[A Cauldron Full of Stars] Life skills

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UK Pagan
I moved out of my parent's house at 18, so did my husband. We had to learn how to be adults together. We didn't realize just how much stuff our family hadn't prepared us for.  We experimented, researched, made mistakes, and finally learned how to be fully functional adults. 

Now we're trying to prepare our oldest child for adulthood.  Adulthood is complex: laundry and cooking, grocery shopping and banking, driving and working, dressing and speaking, financial literacy and insurance-speak, everyday mathematics and how to navigate the legal system. There are so many things that he will need to learn in the next few years, and at times, it feels like a hopeless task.  To us as parents and our kids as the ones who need to learn all of this.

It makes me think that our society really, really stinks at preparing us for adulthood and worse, we're kind of ambiguous about what it means to be an adult and when that transition should happen and how it happens.  You can vote or be summoned to die for your country at 18, but you can't buy booze.  You can insure your own car at 18, but you can't rent a car.  We refer to people over 21 as kids, depending on the situation and their behavior.  Some children are legally responsible for their crimes before 18, but others aren't. College is not the real world, no matter what your high school teacher might say. It's frankly, a big, confusing mess.

Maybe coming of age ceremonies aren't such a bad idea. They signal, universally, what role a person occupies and what their new expectations are.  They end childhood unambiguously.  And they are meticulously planned for in advance. The convey the weight of adulthood to all the participants.

I find as my children get older, ideas that I had dismissed out of hand as antiquated, like coming of age ceremonies, might be truly brilliant ideas that have been forgotten.  I wonder what a modern coming of age trial might look like. Is it planning and executing a meal? Filing your taxes?  Proving you can do the laundry from start to finish? I don't know, but I do know I'm frantically trying to make sure my children develop life skills alongside their formal education and social development, and I'm also 100% positive, I'm missing more than a few lessons that they might need in the future.

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