Beginning cooks (myself included) are often fearful of turning on the stove. They may worry that they don't even know how to do anything right -- they can't even boil water!
Luckily, I found helpful step-by-step instructions at ehow.com:
1. Choose a pot that's large enough to hold the amount of water you want to boil, and has a lid that fits.
2. Remember that the pot might have to be bigger than you'd think if you're going to add food to the water. Without enough room in the pot, for example, rice or pasta will boil over.
3. Place the pot on a stove burner and pour cold water from a measuring cup into the pot. Or, if you're doing something such as cooking pasta and don't need to measure, just run cold water from the tap into the pot, then place the pot on the burner.
4. Turn the burner to high. Cover the pot.
5. Check for steam escaping from under the lid, then lift the lid carefully to see how the water is doing.
6. Look at the water. If large bubbles are rising from the bottom of the pot to the surface, the water is boiling.
If these instructions are too confusing to you, you can watch a video instead.
Guess what? You know how to boil water. Now what?!
NOTE: Do not become engaged in an engrossing phone conversation or check your e-mail while boiling water or else the pot might boil over. I did this once and the pot stuck to the burner.