Sunday, June 14, 2009

Education for matching

David Brooks reflects on what to tell high school graduates, and he thinks about skills we don't teach for making matches: Advice for High School Graduates.

"The most important decision any of us make is who we marry. Yet there are no courses on how to choose a spouse. There’s no graduate department in spouse selection studies. Institutions of higher learning devote more resources to semiotics than love.
The most important talent any person can possess is the ability to make and keep friends. And yet here too there is no curriculum for this."

In addition to thinking about how to educate young people how to navigate these life skills better, we can also think about how to design institutions to better facilitate them. Many high school graduates will find they have no problem making friends and even identifying potential mates while they are in college, where the market is thick. Once they disperse to the work force, both of those things may become harder, as the opportunities become less thick. Many of our customs and institutions related to marriage arose when more people married their high school and college sweethearts.

1 comment:

Tam said...

On a related note, I think there's a missing market for the education of the traditional homemaker/wife. In the past, women's schools or "finishing schools" like Miss Porter tend to teach women how to choose, impress and please a man of great potential. Of course, as time goes by, many of these skills are obsolete. Good men can be spotted otherwise, and career and intelligence are as impressive as charm and delightfulness.

However, I believe there is still a real need for these soft skills. Look at the rise of high class escort services: all of them claim to give the client a charming companion. The most important role is not sexual but being understanding and delightful, all of which belongs to the traditional wife type.