Real Life 101: Why don’t I know how to change a tire?

Courtesy of Emma Campbell

You’re in class. It’s the last period of the day. Mr. Meyer is talking about limits and you’re thinking to yourself, “When will I need this? How is this useful to my advancement as a person? Is this necessary information, or just another cog in the development of good learning habits?” Nevertheless, you write down every word he says.

Later, as you’re approaching your car in the Severn parking lot, you realize you have a flat tire. Great. (For the sake of this hypothetical situation, all of your friends have left, your phone is dead – you are, essentially, stranded). Well thankfully, you know how to change a tire… right? There’s a spare in your trunk, that’s good. Have you been regularly inflating it to the recommended PSI? Have you checked your tire pressure monthly to begin with? It’s raining. Do you have a poncho in the trunk? How about a flashlight?

Okay. No matter. A little rain never hurt anyone.

Placing the wheel wedges in their proper positions, you get started with the lug wrench that you definitely have in your trunk. Throw your full arm strength into it, even your body weight, but don’t remove them fully. Now you need the jack. Search for it, fumble for it, place it on the ground next to the car. Where does it go exactly? And then once you find where it goes, how do you keep it from coming off-balance? A 2×6” piece of wood, technically, but where do you even find one of those?

How can limits help you now?

Granted, this is an exaggerated hypothetical situation. Limits are very important and Mr. Meyer can quote me on that. Yet the concept of which useful skills are necessary to teach is not unheard of. “Real-life skills,” like filing tax returns, applying for loans, navigating the healthcare system, are all items that feel necessary to the education itinerary – perhaps not as a replacement, but at least in addition to the already established school system. Home Economics as a class, although a tad old-fashioned in nature, still offered some proper education in cooking, sewing, and finances. One could argue that these are skills a parent should be able to teach, but that is not always a viable option. Still, can a school curriculum be held responsible for this aspect of education? With the world at our fingertips, does it matter?

To be frank, our school model is outdated. It is outrageous that the

At its core, the school system is designed to cultivate basic, essential skills: critical thinking, creativity, communication, collaboration, and curiosity, just to name a few. So even the busy-work could be considered a growing step for self-discipline. Either way, you have the skills to bring solutions to reality. Maybe you do know how to change a tire. Maybe you watched someone do it once and then they let you try, so now if you are ever stranded somewhere you possess all the skills you need to make a safe escape. Regardless, I implore you to ask questions. Consider what you don’t know and take it upon yourself to find answers. Whether that be through the internet, a family friend, or a teacher, you always have the ability to seek and understand. There are no limits to your curiosity.

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  1. Have you guys heard of the Common Knowledge Club at Severn. This is literally the premise for the entire club.


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