I think everyone should learn the basic operating principles of stick shift. If they're ever in a situation where it's essential they drive one they'll wish they had.
Regardless of engine and vehicle size/type, it really depends what the driving environment is and how good the transmission ratios are. I've never regretted buying a manual in my Cruze because I view it as a car that lends itself to the engagement of manual shifting, anyway - and the automatic is a slush box. However, I've driven an '03 Passat 1.8T that felt pretty right with an automatic. Rowing the gears in my grandpa's '96 Lesabre would be strange and the 4T65E isn't a bad unit.
I was driving long before legal age in a '75 CJ5 with a 258-6 and 3-speed in the floor. An autmatic would have been much less suited to running around the farm, creeping through the woods, pulling stumps, etc. IMHO pretty much any vehicle intended to fill the traditional role of a Jeep is better with a stick shift.
I've pondered how much cooler my '85 GMC 1-ton would be converted to an original-type 4-speed instead of its TH400, but then I realize I've come to appreciate the truck as an automatic, the TH400 is hard to beat, and it being a SRW 4x2 it's really a highway truck and shifting would be one more thing I'd have to keep track of when managing a large trailer through traffic instead of depending on the automatic to do what it needs to. OTOH, the '84 K20 that I had for a couple months before getting the Oneton, with its 350/4-speed, was a good combination and was a good combo for someone that spent more time off paved surfaces than I do.