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Patty Craig: A Slice of Time

Recently I came across a “How self-sufficient are you?” chart in The Modern Woodmen magazine (Summer 2021, p. 21). Author Leah Eigenbrod used the chart to identify life skills in the four areas of home, finance, health and safety, and automotive.  Whether self-evaluating or determining what we have taught our children or grandchildren, this chart is useful.

In the home area, seven skills were listed: know user passwords, operate a grill, use a lawn mower, iron a shirt, sew on a button, change a diaper, and cook a meal from scratch. I can perform the tasks listed – completing some more confidently than others. Interestingly, Eigenbrod did not mention cleaning or laundry in these self-sufficiency tasks.

In the financial area, the six listed tasks were: balance a checkbook, have and follow a budget, own life insurance, contribute to a retirement account, do your taxes, and have a will. In this area, I would also include having a savings account, an excellent resource for emergency expenses.

Finally, I have grouped health and safety and automotive together, totaling eight tasks. The health and safety tasks were have health insurance, have a primary care physician, perform CPR, and perform the Heimlich maneuver. The automotive area skills were parallel park, change a flat tire, use jumper cables, and navigate with a map (not GPS). I would not add to these tasks for the general public. However, I do want my children and grandchildren to know how to check the oil and how to add air to the tires of a vehicle.


Socrates said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” According to Eigenbrod’s chart, I have some life skills as well as some areas for growth. Maybe a little self-evaluation is good for us occasionally.


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