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Twenty Skills that are Dying Out

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I was reading an article about a new "Adulting School" (a school that teaches basic skills to adults).  The article cited a study done by the Ordnance Survey (official mapping agency of Great Britain), which listed 20 skills that people believe are dying out.  I thought this would interest people, because a least five of these skills are basic scout skills (including the first three listed). 


The skills are as follows (I added BOLD font to emphasize the particular skills:

  1. Reading a map
  2. Using a compass
  3. Tie a specific knot
  4. Darn socks
  5. Looking something up in a book using an index rather than “Googling itâ€
  6. Correct letter writing technique
  7. Understanding pounds and ounces
  8. Knowing your spelling and grammar
  9. Converting pounds and ounces to grams and kilograms
  10. Starting a fire from scratch
  11. Handwriting
  12. Understanding feet and inches
  13. Knitting
  14. Recall a friend or relative’s phone number from memory
  15. Recall a partner’s phone number from memory
  16. Identifying trees, insects and flowers
  17. Touch typing
  18. Baking bread from scratch
  19. Taking up trousers
  20. Wiring a plug

Below is a link to the article:




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I was reading an article about a new "Adulting School" (a school that teaches basic skills to adults).  The article cited a study done by the Ordnance Survey (official mapping agency of Great Britain)

home number?  what's that?

I guess, like Europe, some parts of the USA are more flammable than others. In the UK it's only really in high summer (and sometimes not even then) we need to be a bit careful with fire circles, fire

I remember meeting several older British men who were competent in most all of these except knitting.


The five you identified are definitely First Class skills. Many of the others may be picked up on the trail to Eagle.

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I got 18 of 20, but I don't darn socks, it's easier and cheaper just to go to Walmart.  If I have to, the new spiral light bulbs just don't do justice to a good darn.


The wife knits.  So I have that covered.  Got one of those Alaskan fisherman sweaters for Christmas, I'm good to go!


I do okay with pounds to kg's and kph vs mph, but I don't get my practice on the rest.


And getting accused one's whole life that they "write like a girl" isn't a big ego builder for a guy.


As far as grammar goes, I do know the difference between there, stuff, their "stuff" and they're "stuff"..... :)   Than of course is the Your "Stuff" and You're "Stuff".  :)

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Actually, I learned a couple of them that were not bolded in scouting.


I'm sure I would have picked it up somewhere else, but when I was a young scout, another scout (my patrol leader) for some reason gave a demonstration on how to replace an electrical plug at a troop meeting.  I think it was some requirement for a merit badge.  


I don't think I learned how to bake bread in scouts, but I did learn how to cook.  Actually, what I really learned is that cooking is possible, and the main thing you need to do is find the instructions and follow them.  So at some point as an adult, I decided to make bread, so I found the directions and followed them.


And for phone numbers, I still remember my scoutmaster's and patrol leader's phone numbers!

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All useful, but I wonder for how long 7 and 9 will be relevant, at this side of the pond? There's a generation (including me) that has been brought up on metric for just about everything. Give it another 20 years and pounds and ounces will look as antiquated as pounds, shillings and pence!

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" A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently,die gallantly.    Specialization is for insects!"


Lazarus Long

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#14 Recall a friend or relative’s phone number from memory.  How about home numbers?


I am shocked by the number of the scouts in my troop who do not know their home phone number.  They rely on their smart phones.


When I was single and after my divorce, I had a difficult time trying to remember my own phone number....... I never called myself.  Duh! 

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I know that by the time I was 7 or 8 years old, I knew my address and if I had to, could ask a taxi cab driver to take me home.  Dad told me to ALWAYS just follow New Hampshire Avenue, from ANYwhere to Norwood Rd.   My mom and I had walked the length of it in both directions so I knew where my house was.

Cooking?  I knew how to use the can opener.

Knots?   My dad had lost his left arm in a construction accident before he met my mom. He was a one armed Journey Man carpenter (thereby couldn't earn his Master's paper) and taught me how to tie my shoes one handed before I learned two handed (!)

Mapreading? Compass?   Surveying Merit Badge. Dad's friend gave me a job as a "Rod Holder "  when I was , I think, 12.

Darn socks?  When I started wearing 100% wool socks as an adult, I learned it was easy to repair those expensive socks rather than toss'em to the rag bin.

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