2013_Spring 133Β I was raised in the suburbanite, public school system. I was encouraged to excel at academics, participate in extra-curricular activities, maybe get a part-time job when I was older, and spend the rest of my time playing, which became partying when I got older.

In my earlier years, I was not encouraged, nor taught how to: cook, clean a house, manage and wash laundry, grocery shop, budget, plan, and other homemaking skills. I eventually learned a few things by watching my parents. I do remember going to the store with my mom and watching dad cook on occasion, but other than that, I have little memory of any education in this area. Oh, there was a Home Economics class in 7th grade. I got a C, one of my worst grades. When I was a teen and my parents did make some attempts at showing me some household economics. I rejected it and them.

When I graduated from High School and was on my own, I really didn’t know how to take care of myself. I had mastered french toast, and could make mac and cheese and hamburger helper, but that was about it. I learned how to run the washer and dryer, but many items of clothing went into wrong cycles or didn’t get pre-treated for stains. I honestly though that I would eventually pay for the things I purchased on credit, and thought nothing of the constant piles of clothing, garbage and junk that laid around the house.

A few years later, I was married to someone without any better skills than I. We were seriously in debt, we were fat and unhealthy from the constant stream of processed, frozen and fast foods that we ate. The house was dirty and unhealthy and we did not know how to fix it up, and we lacked any motivation to keep it really clean.

When God got through to us, we were in bad shape. There was much to be convicted of and to redeem! But, God is capable, and so started the long haul to showing us how to have a better life. Shortly after we gave our lives to Jesus, we were convicted to stop preventing pregnancy and have children. However, I knew NOTHING about being a mother.

God knew what I needed and what I could handle. He provided people, books, the internet and the library as sources to teach me everything from β€œWhat To Expect When You Are Expecting” to how to cook, how to manage laundry, how to use the attachments of a vacuum cleaner (people really go around the edge of their house with that edger attachment???), and so much more.

It has been 7 years since I had my first child. I now have a weekly menu plan and shopping list, I know how much laundry I can get done in a week, I know how long before the toilets need to be cleaned, I know how to stay within a budget, and I can cook some really great food from scratch, including grinding my own wheat and making my own bread.

I praise God for what He has done, a great work in an entitled, lazy, disconnected woman.

May you find something in here to encourage you today.

61 comments on “My Testimony Part 2: How I Graduated High School With Almost No Practical Skills”

  1. Thankfully you came from a time in public school where they at least taught reading, writing and math skills that enabled you. Sadly, now many graduate reading at less than an elementary level with very little math skills. As my little brothers diplomas say they have graduated but didn’t pass the testing. So, for these new graduates not only have to overcome lack of work skills but have to actually learn to read, comprehend and math just so they can begin to learn basic life skills.

    • That is just madness. I do know some kids (husband’s cousins by marriage) who are doing well in the public system, but their parents work with them outside of school, I believe, and encourage them. In another words, whether the kids homeschool, public school, or online school, they will always do better than the average in the system they are in the more their parents work with and invest in them.

  2. April, could be my testemony! I remember when I first started following the Lord and a ministry we were involved in said everyone has issues to work on and my proudful thought was “aren’t they so lucky to have me? I don’t have any of ‘those’ issues!” HA, little did I know! Praise HaShem for the work he does in us.

  3. This was a great post. My junior high Home Economics class was pretty much a joke as well. Luckily, my teacher in High School was amazing and taught us all some useful skills. We were taught how to balance checkbooks, cook, sew, etc. and a lot of those lessons actually stuck in my head. I want to instill all those lessons in my children myself and not rely on their teachers to do it as well.

    • Hi April. I am an April too;-) You were blessed to have a good class in High School and I appreciate that, that translated into you wanting to make sure they are taught as they really should be – by mom. However, I do know that there are moms out there that simply can’t do it due to circumstances. So us mom’s that can do it, should find ways to help them.

  4. What an amazing change and progress you have made! Recognizing our blessings is half the battle. When we recognize them and are grateful, our lives all seem to come together!

  5. I wasn’t taught much about cooking or cleaning by my mom. She had severe anxiety and couldn’t cope with life much. But, my great gramma taught a lot. Then, as an adult, I quickly forgot those skills from not using them. The last few years, I’ve had to re-learn them and I feel much better in general for using them.

  6. What a great testimony to tell others that life takes work, and dedication. And even after school there is always something new to learn!

  7. My mom was not a big cook when I was growing up. And I was an only child – so I was a bit spoiled. I didn’t have many chores to do at all. But my grandmother enjoyed cooking and she really instilled that in me. My mom worked a lot to take care of us, and my dad was hardly around. I think in a lot of ways I educated myself growing up.

    Now I always cook with the kids. I think it’s a wonderful way to spend time together. And they do have chores. My oldest daughter does know how to do laundry. And we play the clean up game with the younger girls. Not mention my boyfriend Dustin is a complete neat freak – so I think it’s almost impossible for him to have children that don’t know how to clean LOL πŸ™‚

    I think we need to teach both our sons and our daughters how to take care of themselves. Home cooking is healthier and budget friendly. And we prefer it.

    I think your journey is an incredible example of God’s love and strength – and your own strength, faith and determination.

    Great post!

    • I was an only child also and I see now that it spoiled me, even though my parents weren’t there for me much. I remember my grandma’s cooking too. I regret not including that in my post. There was some real love with my time there.

      Blessings,
      April

  8. I remember having Home Ec and I did not do very well either. If not for watching my mom cook dinner every night I would not have known how to take care of myself as I got older. I don’t think I did a very good job until recently. Do they even have Home Ec anymore? It seems with they way they keep cutting school budgets those are the classes that were first to go. They have money for IPads, but none for stoves and sewing machines.

    • There is no doubt in my mind that the school system is not geared to train people to be self sufficient, but to train them to be dependant. Such is why I homeschool and our curriculum is: Bible first, then practical life skills, then academics. We recently took a day off of “school” to go volunteer as a family at a nursing home for an event. My children know how to greet, help and care for the elderly and disabled. And they can still read above their grade level.

  9. God can teach us so much trough others and his word it’s amazing. I started adulthood with a fair knowledge of home making but how to be a wife…beyond what I saw with my childhood eyes was another matter. Over the last seven years God has taught me so much in that area.

    Thanks for the encouraging words and sharing your story.

    • Most of our society / culture today is NOT teaching us how to be a wife or woman after God’s heart, but almost the opposite. God has placed some great examples in my life over the past 8 years and I am grateful for that.

  10. Unfortunately I see many “christians” that do not make the “choice” to change. They believe that is the “best” way they can live, blaming their parents or their past for their failures. Kuddos to you for owning up to your past failures and making the “choice” to change them. God works and moves in everyone’s life if they allow him to, and that is just what you did… Congratulations, you make Him proud… and me too! πŸ˜‰

    • I used “what happened to me” in many areas of my life to excuse my behaviour, sin, attitudes and choices. It has taken many years, the work of God and the willingness of Christians who have been through it to help me see.

  11. Great post. I think lots of parents don’t teach their kids those basic skills to care for themselves. My parents taught us older kids but my younger siblings are pampered and they just turned 20. I hope I can set a good example for my kids and teach them to fend for themselves so when they are on their own.

  12. Isn’t it amazing how the lack of training in the “domestic” areas of your life had a domino effect and caused disarray in so many other areas of your life? How wonderful it is that you experienced such a complete turnaround! Thanks for sharing your testimony.

    • Although I agree that the lack of training did have effects in my life, I think the underlying cause of my parents not training me were the real reason that I had so many other issues in my life. Make sense?

  13. Wow. What a story. Thank you for sharing so much and opening up to us. You are an example of such miraculous change and progress and maturity…it’s truly inspiring. I am in awe of you, your transformation, and your willingness to share your story. You’ve given me a lot to think about.

  14. “I praise God for what He has done, a great work in an entitled, lazy, disconnected woman.” Amen, sister! I can relate to quite a bit of what you have shared. My life before Christ was a complete mess, and by the blood of Jesus alone, I am now a brand new creation. That was many years ago, and by the grace of God, He is completing the work He began in me. I’m thankful you have openly shared your story here for others to read as well. I pray He will use it in the lives of others.

    • Yes, sharing our stories has many benefits. It is good for us to write and work through it and it is good for others to hear and learn from it. It can also be good to get honest feedback about it.

  15. Yep sounds like me. I was fortunate to find a man who was responsible with money.
    About 2 yrs ago I discovered the importance of real food, so I have that down. Still working on the laundry part πŸ˜‰

  16. I was not really taught to do things around the house when i was young either. We actually had a housekeeper while both my parents worked. All the more reason that these days my kids do help around the house with chores and things. I believe its an important part of growing up.

  17. You have done an amazing job of pulling yourself up by your bootstraps! I, too, didn’t learn basic skills at home or at school. I managed to learn them on the fly from roommates and later from my husband…Thank God for giving me guidance and help when I most needed it!

    • That seems like what we “should” do, doesn’t it? Make it all easier? But I have seen in my family history, our culture today, and in my own children that it doesn’t work that way. My children almost always do better, are happier, and behave better when they have purposeful things to do around the house. The children love to cook with mom and they even enjoy (some) of the cleaning. They love to be asked to help with stuff (at least most of the time).

  18. Your post inspires me a lot. Because I can see my self, a lazy disconnected woman and it scares me on what my futures hold. So I pray for God’s guidance and thank him for all the wonderful blessings that I am receiving.

  19. My husband’s mom didn’t teach him any skills either. It made it tough because I suddenly had to teach a 30+ year old man how to make a bed, make a healthy meal. It has put a strain on our marriage but he has been patient and willing to learn… just one of them many reasons I love him.

    Jennifer @ The Jenny Evolution

  20. Sounds familiar. Before my daughter left home, I didn’t push her to learn to cook & clean. Yes, I should have. But she is figuring it out all on her own & I am still proud.

  21. You’ve come a long way, it sounds like…it also sounds like you were ready for the changes and didn’t fight them. πŸ™‚ Lovely post – thanks for sharing! πŸ™‚

  22. Nice post! I would have to say my skills need some work as well. When I had went off to college, I learned a lot about being self reliant and how to change my habits. When I have kids some day, I will make it a priority to help them be as able as possible when they go off into the real world.

  23. I had a pretty solid background in some things–like cooking–but I wish I could claim expertise in other areas, like laundry. For some reason, I feel like I never have mastered stain treatment…

  24. I was just talking to my Dad last night about how school prepares you for more school! Not real life! Thank you for being so honest !

  25. I know it does seem less training is provided for basic household management. I was a Home Ec girl growing up and managed our home growing up with multiple chores. I have started working with my kids young now and they help clean, wash clothes, fold, and put away at 6 and under. We will add more tasks as they get bigger.

    • Yes, you have got it. But are you in the majority or minority (at least in Western / 1st world culture)? Such is why I have created this blog and am writing Home Ec curriculum, because there are so many who need to be encouraged to teach their children these things and might need help along the way.

  26. I think it is amazing how much we can teach ourselves and think the library and the internet are such gifts. I would love to hear how you are helping your kid(s) learn these skills. That is something I struggle with… getting them involved in the housework. No one taught me how to cook and it is something I still struggle with! Good for you for pulling yourself up by your boot straps! XO, ellie

    • Hi Ellie,
      My main motivation for getting the children working with me around the house was initially selfish – they were (are) busy children and when I did cooking and housework and weren’t interacting with them, I found them continually getting into trouble. Yes, they need training. But, I also put them to work with me and found a much more peaceful day ensued. I started with laundry with my 1st two year old. She would sort the laundry with me, mom has to tell which pile of course. I would also have her in the kitchen with me for baking and simple meals and let her stir, pour things in, etc…

      By the time they are 3 or 4, they can play at sweeping, pick up toys and garbage, set the table, clear the table (we use plastic plates, bowls and cups when we don’t have guests), help unload the dishwasher, and put away their own clothing. I just teach them one thing at a time, over the course of however many days it takes.

      Once they are 6 or 7 (my oldest is now 7), they can sweep well, push a vacuum, sort and get laundry going, help with meal prep and baking, get stuff for other people, and more. I just did each of the tasks along side of them until they were comfortable on their own.

      The hard part – this made everything I did take longer and I had to account for that every day. I had to give up other things to do this (like writing, not running around to a bunch of activities). But I am seeing the fruit now and expect my children to be able to run most of the household by the time they hit their teens.

      Have you ever seen the Duggars? They are a good example, I think.

  27. I am fortunate to have grown up in a home where I learned homemaking skills from a very early age. I was already doing laundry by age 4! I do, however, know MANY people (guys and girls) who have almost zero skills in homemaking and money managing. And, as they leave home and get married, I say a prayer for them and let them know that I would be happy to help with anything they need. Some of them even take me up on my offer for simple cooking lessons and recipes. Thank you for such a lovely and honest post!

  28. Your post reminds me of a friend who told me his son was in his first year of college. He called his son to remind him to send a birthday card to his mother. The card arrived postage due! When asked why he did that, he told his dad, “I didn’t know what stamap to get, so I just got the cheapest.” It is such a shame when children are encouraged to “perform” above learning to live in the real world.

  29. So amazing to read how God changed you from the inside out! He truly can change our desires and motivations, even as adults. Thank you for sharing your story with us!

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