“What Every Kid Should Be Able to Do by Age Sixteen”

“What Every Kid Should Be Able to Do by Age Sixteen”

“Be happy and comfortable alone for ten days, ten miles from the nearest other person.”

– Audrey Sutherland’s “What Every Kid Should Be Able to Do by Age Sixteen”

Tell me more: We learned about Audrey Sutherland through a tribute on Patagonia’s blog, and were struck not only by her remarkable life but by a list of 31 items she wrote for her own children. Sutherland – a mother, counselor and adventurer – prepared this list decades ago, but it’s just as powerful today. Among her expectations for kids by the age of sixteen:

  • Swim 400 yards easily
  • Splice or put a fixture on an electric cord
  • Change a diaper, and a tire
  • Listen to an adult talk with interest and empathy
  • Clean a fish and dress a chicken
  • Know basic auto mechanics and simple repair
  • Find your way across a strange city using public transportation
  • Do your own laundry

Find the full post, and list, over at Patagonia. Which of these items feel relevant today? Which don’t, and why? What might be added? How can we prepare young people for the type of life that Sutherland describes?

Photo via Patagonia