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10 Skills Our Kids Will Never Learn

Already, vast areas of Boomer knowledge are becoming obsolete

  • Shutterstock/Istock/Istock

    Completely obsolete?

    En español | When you think about it, human progress can be summed up as the shedding of skills that once seemed vital in order to free up times to acquire new ones. Steamboat captains aren’t much in demand these days; expertise in social media is. It’s a process that used to take several generations. These days, it happens in a blur. Already, vast areas of Boomer knowledge is becoming obsolete.

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  • Alamy

    How to read a map

    What will happen to our progeny when the cellphone battery dies and they are 40 miles south of East Nowhere? Will they know how to orient themselves on a map? Will there be maps?

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  • Shutterstock

    How to do simple home crafts

    It took my mother 30 seconds to teach me how to press fall leaves between two pieces of waxed paper. Boom! Our kids will consult Pinterest, where they will learn that if they have a balloon, a quart of Mod Podge, two pounds of confetti and six hours, they can make a popcorn bowl—assuming nothing goes wrong, which it will.

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  • Alamy

    How to send things through the mail

    As a freelance editor, I sometimes send book manuscripts through the mail. Not long ago, a 20-something clerk at Office Depot took the four-pound box of manuscripts I was sending back to its author, stuck a 42-cent stamp on it and tossed it in the mail bin. I just looked at him. “What?” he said. He had no idea that postage was calculated by weight because he had never mailed a package before.

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  • Istock

    How to write in cursive

    My husband can’t tell if my shopping list says “bran flour” or “brake fluid”—and I’m a product of an era when schools still taught penmanship. Now that Common Core has deemed penmanship irrelevant, our kids are doomed. Archeologists of the future will wonder how a species that communicated in emoticons ever achieved space flight.

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  • Shutterstock

    How to folk dance

    Folk dancing was the go-to recess activity on rainy days when I was in elementary school. It incorporated music into learning, it taught the basics of etiquette, and it was fun. These days, kids are lucky to get recess, period.

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  • Robert Deutschman

    AARP Offer: Remember the past, help shape the future

    Share your stories and help advocate for political support to protect your future. Join AARP to support living with dignity and purpose.

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  • Getty Images

    How to maintain an extensive mental archive of 1960s-era commercial jingles

    Thanks to the fact that I have all the lyrics to the Armour Hot Dog song stuck in my brain, I have no mental bandwidth left for my bank account password. Fortunately, our children won’t have their brains cluttered up this way. They will be busy curating an extensive mental archive of rap lyrics.

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  • Shutterstock

    How to plant vegetables by the phase of the moon

    There’s no science behind this folklore, sad to say. But it did attune you to the rhythms of nature without having to shell out for a $700 “mindfulness retreat.”

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  • Istock

    How to balance a checkbook

    Or, for that matter, write a check.

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  • Istock

    How to make change in their heads

    What’s $8.47 out of $20? If you’re like me, you do a mental exercise that goes something like: $10, plus another dollar makes $11, and 50 cents plus three more comes to $11.53. Okay, I just checked that on my Iphone, but I can do it in my head if I have to.

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  • Istock

    How to drive a stick shift

    With the advent of driverless cars, our children may never even get behind the wheel, much less learn how to pop a clutch. On the other hand, this would mean we could all say goodbye to Driver’s Ed. On the whole, this is progress.

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