Melanie Falick: In traditional society, hands-on competence, learning to do what is expected of adult men + women, is what growing up is about.
Ellen Dissanayake: Yes. Girls were taught to prepare food, boys to make animal traps + fishing nets. In some groups, only females or only males made pots or wove baskets. All these skills were acquired as a matter of course by watching + interacting with others, and the skills were within the capability of all normal people. Today, although they have the 'freedom' to choose their own paths to satisfying work, not all young people can figure out their own place in the larger world, where it is difficult to acquire the skills that will bring the money + prestige that have become the measure of success. In traditional societies, a material object that one made was tangible evidence that one had accomplished something, even though it might not have been 'the best'.