HAVE YOU EVER SUDDENLY realized you don’t know something that everyone else seems to know? There can be life skill gaps in your knowledge, and it can be dang uncomfortable!
Life skills, almost always, are passed onto us by our parents. It’s part of the process of growing up.
Listen to Jenny talk about life skill gaps with Scottie Haas on Hobart’s ultra106five >>>
What are Life Skills?
Life skills are critical pieces of information which are many and varied. Usually it’s the little things. Who taught you to speak? Tie shoelaces? Drive a car? The thing is, just like missing the day at school when fractions were introduced, sometimes you never quite get some skills. These “life skill gaps” can be very practical – for example I didn’t know how to make smooth custard. I also chucked out so many pots of burnt stewed apples when I first left home. Lumpy custard with burnt apples anyone?
Little things like this cropped up constantly as a young adult. But it can go way beyond food prep.
Oh, I Am So Embarrassed!
Kitchen skills aside, sometimes, I discovered I had more serious life skill gaps. I remember some relational gaps when I had absolutely no idea. One area I floundered was learning to appropriately relate to males as a young married woman.
For example, one day, not long after Stephen and I tied the knot, I had a big heart-to-heart with some guy. We were sitting at a dimly lit table at a church coffee shop. And at the end of the evening he offered me a lift home! I’m not sure who was more uncomfortable when I showed him my wedding ring.
About the same time, I smiled at a young workman working on a power-line team in our street. To my embarrassment, when I left the house a little later, a wolf-whistle echoed in my direction. The supervisor growled at him – and I finally learned a valuable lesson about not encouraging strange young men.
Gaps in My Knowledge
I put these gaps in my knowledge down to the fact that I lost my mother to breast cancer when I was only 16 years old. She was sick for a couple of years before that though, so in reality my learning from her probably stopped when I was 13 or 14 years old.
There are so many areas where, in a perfect world, my mother should have taught me life skills: child-rearing, keeping house, cooking, gardening, relating to people in general, relating to boys in particular. And those are just a few of them!
Then there are skills she had, which I would have loved to learn from her. For example, before my mother became unwell I admired how she was always so hospitable to people. She was also very clever with flowers, and our home was always filled with stunning flower arrangements. And her dress-sense was impeccable. I’m sure she would have passed these things on to me if she had lived longer.
Instead, I struggled through my early adult years trying to work those things out for myself. Sometimes, embarrassingly, I had to rely on others to show me. And I still find I make things up myself.
Sometimes, I end up doing the research and figuring it out by trial and error. I’ve managed to make a success of many areas that were once a mystery. But I’m still aware of the possibility of those gaps, and always wonder if there is something I don’t know, just outside my awareness.
Overwhelmed about Life Skill Gaps?
Realizing there are gaps in your knowledge can be quite sobering. How do you pass on important information to your children, when you are the one with the life skill gaps?
Thankfully there is a redeeming factor in all this. This is where I ask God to show me. It’s what I did when I was first pregnant, because I was so overwhelmed with the task ahead. In panic, almost, I realized that having no mother to help me out, put me at a definite disadvantage. So I asked God to fill that space of the unknown. And I still do it, even today.
The number of times inspiration has struck, not long after praying, tells me he has shown me many life skills over the years, filling many of those gaps.
Here are some ideas for easy prayers to pray. Just ask him. He loves to answer!
- Please God, show me areas where I have life skill gaps
- Especially show me areas where I need to inform my children,
- Please fill me in on the specific life skill gaps that I have, where I need to learn so I can best serve my children for their adult life
- Teach me to be open to you
- Give me a teachable spirit
For more about talking to God visit God Conversations
Questions for you as you journal about life skill gaps:
- Are there areas where you know you have (or had) life skill gaps?
- Are there life skills where you still have no idea what to do?