Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Basic Life Skills - Do You Know the Right Way to Put on Socks?

I graduated from an American high school in Germany 48 years ago. A few weeks before that momentous rite of passage, my girl-friend and I decided to visit a nearby castle. It was a brilliant spring afternoon, and the gardens were gorgeous - a romantic setting. I can still picture her sitting opposite me under the shade of a tree. I had taken off my shoes and socks so I could feel the grass under my bare feet. I can't remember what we talked about, but the time passed all too quickly.

As I put my socks back on, she informed me that I was doing it incorrectly. She explained the proper method for pulling on socks, which would reduce wear and tear. It was a sweet thing to do, and the advice came from a kind heart, even though being instructed in basic life skills is far, far from romantic.

Life skills encompass many aspects of learning that we begin in childhood and continue long into adulthood. For example:
  • Personal hygiene
  • Health habits
  • Physical fitness
  • Manners and etiquette
  • Food preparation
  • Use of machines, tools, and equipment
  • Safe driving
  • Dress and grooming
  • Money management
There's a lot to be learned, and nearly everyone enters adulthood still learning it. When you're a kid, it's your job to learn stuff, and kids certainly have a lot on their plate! Those who are fortunate to have caring parents, teachers, coaches, mentors, and friends leave childhood with a significant edge in life. Because if they aren't guided in these areas, they'll have a lot of catching up to do. If indeed they ever do catch up. The deficiencies can make life much more challenging than it needs to be.

Life skills take their place in the context of four other general areas of learning:
  • Personal strength
  • People skills
  • General education
  • Business know-how
To be honest, I'm still learning some of this stuff. I'm always grateful when someone gives me a helpful tip. My high school classmate now has a family of her own, and even her kids have kids. If she should happen to read this, I'd like her to know that I appreciate the tip she gave me all those years ago, and that I've been pulling my socks on properly ever since. In fact, I thought about her advice this past weekend as I put on a fresh pair of socks before going out to mow the lawn. I've had this strange association countless times over the years; I assume that at this point it's permanently ingrained in my brain.

What about you? If you do in fact put your socks on correctly, do you remember who taught you this essential life skill?

Post by Dennis E. Coates, Ph.D., Copyright 2011. Building Personal Strength .


Unknown said...

I enjoyed your blog today, Denny. And yes, looking back over the years I can recall a number of simple and basic life instructions that I've received from various folks. But that's not the primary reason for this comment.

I notice that mine is your first comment today. No one else has stepped up, so I will do it on behalf of all your readers. Although the following question likely was not the intent of your blog...we must know...

What is the proper method for pulling on socks?

I think I may be familiar with the method. When I was very young, I watched my Mom pull on her nylons when she got dressed for church or "dressed up" for some other event. She never gave me any verbal instructions; I simply learned by watching her. To this day, I still use the method, especially with ankle-length athletic socks and certainly with over-the-calf dress socks.

Denny Coates said...

You got it right, Ron. The women are the keepers of this knowledge. Bless them for sharing this practical know-how with us clumsy men....

SaVonni Yestanti said...


Your post touched on the importance of learning various skills; as children and adults. Growing up, the various people who I was blessed to have in my life taught me many of the Life Skills that I carry with me daily. Having caring, nurturing, enthusiastic, patient and supportive people in one's life enhances the learning and acceptance of those skills that will undoubtedly touch others as we traverse the world.

Great post!