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Basic Skills for Every Adult

Updated on December 18, 2016


I came across a news article today that grabbed my attention. It highlights the fact that young people today can't fix anything. This lead me to think about what are the basic skills that every adult should have been taught at home or in school. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Our education system is broken and many young people are distracted with pop culture and their electronic gadgets. Getting back to the basics may be the best survival strategy in our modern world.

- December 2014

Basic Skills

  1. Read and write English
  2. Basic Arithmetic - balance a check book
  3. Civics and how to vote - Know how our government works and be informed.
  4. Common laws and the Constitution - Know the bill of rights.
  5. High School level Sciences - (electricity, chemistry, physics...)
  6. Drive a car (even better - a stick shift)
  7. Use Simple hand tools (hammer, screwdriver, saw, woodworking)
  8. Music and dance.
  9. Play in a team sport - (working together for a common goal)
  10. Use the computer (type and research on the web...)
  11. Grow something - simple plants and flower or edibles.
  12. Cook a meal - (boil water and make eggs)
  13. Hunting / Fishing
  14. Ride a bike - (balance and better yet cross country ski).
  15. Self defense - basic moves for defense.
  16. First Aid (CPR..., dress a wound).
  17. Use a compass (hike in the woods).
  18. Take care of animals (have a pet).
  19. Make a fire in the wilderness.
  20. Swim.

Why do we need to know this?

Many of the items on my list are obvious. We need these basic skills to live and thrive in our modern world. These are learned in primary schools. In addition, most of us will have additional specialty skills that will provide us with a paying job. These are attained by either college or post graduate education or a trade school or trade union. Some of the other skills on my list are the things we should have learned as boy/girl scouts. These skills are necessary for survival in the wild. Why are they still relevant today? Here are a few scenarios that are very real possibilities.

  1. Natural disasters such as the recent hurricane Sandy. Many people lost power for extended periods. Without electric power, we are at a loss.
  2. Terrorism - Terrorist are always searching for the next "big" thing that will impact us and our life style. After 9/11, we know anything is possible.
  3. Computer hackers - may be able to take down our power grid, affect mass transit and our financial system. We need to be prepared for all eventualities.

These basic skills will help all of us to survive if a major natural disaster or a terrorist event strikes. A simple observation may drive this home. It is said that the Amish people will be the most likely survivors if a major disaster strikes. The main reason being their livelihood do not rely on modern technology. Something to think about.

Big Question?

The bottom line is this. We all need to answer the "What if?" question.

Regardless where you live, "Can I and my family survive a week or two without electricity?"

What skills do I need? and What items do I need to have on hand?

Lights Out


How many basic skills from the list do you possess?

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