Thursday, September 10, 2009

Teach A (Wo)man To Fish

Tip #185 - Teach a (Wo)man to Fish. This is absolutely one of my favorite sayings. "Give a man some fish and he’ll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he’ll eat for a lifetime." This saying applies to women as equally to men. And it can be applied to so many facets of our lives, that it is hard to pick just one to talk about so I’ll discuss why I like this saying so much in regards to many aspects of our lives.

Learn a Trade – Let’s say you need something typed. You can pay someone to type it for you. Or you can learn to type yourself and do it for free. And then you have a valuable skill that people may pay you for, possibly earning you money for a lifetime career. This skill can range from typing to woodworking to fixing cars to sewing to cooking. Learn how to do it yourself and you will have a career.

Organize Your Finances – Anyone reading this blog or other personal finance blogs, websites, or magazines regularly is learning about finances. Many people earn a paycheck and spend money freely, because they have not taken charge of their finances. By learning how to budget, pay yourself first, save for retirement, and spend less than you earn, you are learning how to manage your own finances, which will serve you for your lifetime. Once you have taken control of your finances, you will be taken care of financially for the rest of your life.

Grow Your Own Food – Most of us rely on the grocery store for food that we eat. But farmers often take care of themselves and their families by growing fruits and vegetables and raising animals for eggs, milk or meat. While many of us can’t live on just what we grow or harvest, we can learn to grow food so we can at least always have some food that we are in charge of from seed to table.

Any new skill we learn can serve us for the rest of our lives. We can eat off our skills, live well off our skills, make money off our skills, and serve others off our skills. So next time you need something done, try to figure out if you can learn how to do it yourself or have somebody teach you. You may learn some skills that will last a lifetime.

In Real Life – I have to admit I am always envious of people who seem to do everything well. I know people who can sing well, draw well, dance well, and sew well. I have a husband who can fix practically anything he examines closely enough. Some of these skills are surely G-d-given talents, while others are skills that some people work hard to acquire or nurture. I sometimes, lazily, lean on others who have such good skills and then I don’t nurture the ones that I have. If I need something sewn, I almost always give it to my mother-in-law who is an excellent seamstress. If anything is broken, I always ask my husband to fix it because he excels at handyman work. But by doing that I don’t gain any of those skills of my own. In some ways it works well because my husband and my skills complement each other, but if he’s not around I have absolutely no idea how to do some of the things I depend on him to do.

Lately, I have been challenging myself to learn new skills – trying to fix the camera when it stops working, learning how to plant vegetables in our garden, trying to cook new or challenging (to me) foods, and learning how to play the piano. I’m pretty sure I won’t ever have a career in any of these areas, but they are all skills that will serve me well for the rest of my life. And over time, they can each save me lots of money. What skills would you like to learn that can serve you well?


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