The “Maturity” Checklist

My brother Scott has been serving as my mother’s “editor and publisher” recently, helping her sort through a lifetime’s worth of collected musings and publishing online those things that might be of interest to others.  This one was of interest to me: a “maturity checklist” designed to help me and my brothers know if we were ready to make it on our own.  It provides an interesting glimpse into that rugged, rural West Virginia life we were living in those days, in an old white farmhouse up on a hill with a big garden and lots of dogs, cats, ponies, rabbits, and chickens.

——————————————

You can know if you are grown-up enough to leave home and be on your own.

Can you: work eight hours in the hot sun, love God, take care of yourself and have enough strength left over to tend someone else?

Here’s the checklist for the six Somerville sons:

I CAN

USE CHAIN SAW SAFELY AND SHARPEN

BUILD CAMPFIRE AND KEEP IT SAFE

BUY MY OWN DOG,  DOG FOOD, SHOTS

FIX A COMPLETE MEAL FOR OTHERS

CHANGE A TIRE AND GET REPAIRS

READ FEVER THERMOMETER

FOLD SHEETS, PLAIN OR FITTED

HANG CURTAIN RODS

USE ELECTRIC DRILL

EARN MONEY

PACK A SUITCASE

SKIP A MEAL AND PRAY INSTEAD

TITHE

SAVE MONEY

SPLIT KINDLING

RIDE A HORSE

FEED DOG DAILY WITHOUT REMINDER

ADDRESS AN ENVELOPE

MOW GRASS

WRITE A LETTER

IRON A SHIRT

MULTIPLICATION TABLES

BOOKS OF THE BIBLE

54 PREPOSITIONS

PARTS OF SPEECH

TEN COMMANDMENTS

LORD’S PRAYER

USE CONCORDANCE

USE A DISHWASHER CORRECTLY

FOLD CLOTHES

SORT LAUNDRY INTO DARK AND LIGHT

USE LAUNDRY MACHINES AND CLOTHESLINE

TAKE OUT GARBAGE

USE AN ELECTRIC SANDER

WASH DISHES IN SINK

SCRUB OUT BATHTUB

SWISH-CLEAN TOILET

USE A CATALOG

USE A DICTIONARY

CLEAN SHOES

READ A BOOK

“CLEAN” A ROOM

HANG CLOTHES ON HANGERS

OVERCOME OBSTACLES

OVERCOME FATIGUE

OVERCOME DREARY WEATHER

DO ONE JOB AT A TIME

NOT AFRAID OF RAIN OR SNOW

AVOID SIDETRACKING

OVERCOME SLUMP

ACCEPT DISAPPOINTMENT

MAINTAIN PACE

KEEP IMPROVING

OVERCOME BOREDOM

—Mary Rice Whiting Somerville

——————————————–

I’m still working on those 54 prepositions, but my chainsaw sharpening skills are strong.

Thanks, Mom.

6 thoughts on “The “Maturity” Checklist

  1. Jim,

    It wore me out just reading the above list. As far as the fitted sheets are concerned, as long as I can fold them so that they can fit in the linen closet, that is all I am concerned about.

    Your mother sounds as if she is a very special and a very industrious person. Best wishes to her and your father.

  2. SIGH! Nobody ever taught me how to use a chain saw properly and sharpen it! Just ain’t got those chainsaw skills! And it is frightening that, back in the ’70s, the military,had I joined, wanted to entrust me with nuclear missiles! Of course, I turned them down and thus probably saved humankind from nuclear disaster, ha, ha! Anyway, that sounds like a great list from your good Mother! She probably should have included “raise some great sons”! I hope that your brother will help her to write and publish a book! May God bless her!

  3. Wow, Jim!

    What an assignment! And after all of these years I am still working on folding the bottom sheet properly. I get so frustrated! As far as changing the tire is concerned there is no hope for me. And, our boys thought their list was tough!

  4. Well, I have been out of town for a week, and after church yesterday, I was planning to write to tell you how much I was missing your blog entries as well as the personal stories that you frequently use as springboards for the point you want to make related to the sermon’s scripture reference. What a pleasant surprise to discover that the sermon I missed while gone was the one that included Dr. Philpen’s predictions and your mother’s Y2K closet, and the blog I had missed was the one featuring your incredible mother’s list of necessary life skills. My thought after reading these was, “Yes, he’s back!” Thank you!

  5. Hi, Jim.

    I don’t know if you remember me, but I’m one of the Harless kids – Sarah Grace. I’m all grown up now, and have four boys of my own. This list is priceless to me – such wisdom in it. I love your mother – I so fondly remember her visits to our childhood home in Morgantown (I don’t remember much of Peytona) and she would bring Billy along. He was the perfect playmate for me – I think he was just a year younger than me. Anyway, I wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed this – and how much I LOVE the photos of all of your brothers on fb.

    Fondly,
    Sarah

  6. I was all set to splurge and have the chain sharpened by professional machine. Now I will go and do it by hand.
    Thanks for the list.
    Len

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