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.

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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

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

Thanks, Mom.