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Friday, April 27, 2012

100 Things to Teach Your Children

Original Article

Call me old fashioned but it seems like kids these days are learning very few useful skills.  By the time I was a teenager I could fish, hunt, make pickles, grow a garden, backpack for a week without getting lost, rappel off a sheer rock cliff, swim across a lake...actually a very long list of things, compliments, mostly, of the skills my grandparents taught me.  And it wasn't like they went out of their way to teach me these things, it was just part of their lives and all of us kids basically learned from watching (back then there was no such thing as sitting in your room with a computer, there was lots of work to be done to get on with everyday living so it was an "all hands on deck" sort of thing where everyone pitched in to get the work done thus a lot of skills were taught this way).  Here's 100 basic skills that every child should learn:
  1. How to swim.
  2. How to catch a fish.
  3. How to safely use a variety of firearms (and clean them too).
  4. How to hunt and dress an animal.
  5. How to grow vegetables.
  6. How to take care of animals.
  7. How to perform CPR.
  8. How to perform the Heimlich maneuver.
  9. Basic first aid skills.
  10. A nice set of good manners (yes ma'am, no sir, thank you, not to gossip, etc).
  11. How to fight.
  12. How to set a goal and reach it.
  13. Way-finding (with GPS and map and compass).
  14. Good hygiene.
  15. How to take care of their body (everything from exercising and cooking nutritious food to brushing teeth and wearing a bicycle helmet).
  16. Backpacking and camping skills (how to start a fire, how to make a shelter, etc).
  17. How to read (well and voraciously if possible).
  18. How to write effectively, clearly, and correctly (ie: how to write a consumer complaint, how to write a letter to your grandparents, how to write an essay, etc).
  19. How to speak to people in a variety of situations (good posture, good grammar, speaking loudly enough, etc).
  20. How to think logically.
  21. How to play a variety of games (chess, checkers, Monopoly, etc).
  22. How to be a good sport and have a good attitude.
  23. A variety of physical skills (that build strength, flexibility, balance, and cardio).
  24. Good social skills.
  25. How to set up their own business and earn money.
  26. How to budget, save, and invest money.
  27. "Old-time" skills (everything from fencing and archery to woodworking and leathercraft).
  28. How to express themselves through art (dancing, music, painting, etc).
  29. Safety skills (how to escape from a house fire, how to avoid "stranger danger", how to keep their information private, etc).
  30. Electronics (everything from HAM radio to how to build a robot).
  31. Teamwork (by joining a team sport or working with a team towards a goal).
  32. Food preservation (canning, freezing, smoking, drying, etc).
  33. How to mediate disagreements.
  34. How to shop effectively (looking for bargains, comparing prices, using coupons, asking for a discount if a product is damaged, etc).
  35. Sciences (botany, astrology, biology, chemistry, etc).
  36. Math (consumer math skills such as how to figure out discounts, how to figure interest, how to measure for carpet, etc).
  37. A foreign language (our country is becoming more multi-cultural by the day).
  38. Basic car repair skills.
  39. How to report an emergency (how to call 911 and provide useful details).
  40. How to drive a variety of vehicles (car, bike, motorcycle, boat, etc).
  41. Basic life guard and water safety skills.
  42. How to follow directions (ie: follow a recipe, build a model, etc).
  43. Building skills (ie: basic construction, welding, plumbing, painting, etc).
  44. How to choose, use, and care for tools.
  45. How to teach someone else a skill.
  46. Emergency prep skills (how to evacuate in an emergency, how to create a communications plan, how to make a BOB, etc).
  47. Social media safety skills (ie: no sexting, how to protect your private information online, etc).
  48. How to reuse and recycle items.
  49. How to cook (everything from soups to desserts).
  50. How to sew.
  51. How to knit and crochet.
  52. How to learn about and prepare for disasters that are most likely to hit your area.
  53. How to procure and, if necessary, purify water.
  54. How to forage for food in the wilds.
  55. How to apply for a job (including how to put together a resume and interview well).
  56. How to plan for, and travel alone from, Point A to Point B (via bus, subway, train, plane).
  57. How to make your home safe (check fire extinguishers, check the smoke alarm, lock windows, etc).
  58. As many sports skills as possible (karate, ice skating, skiing, etc).
  59. How to escape, evade, and hide in an emergency.
  60. How to resolve school problems (with teachers, administration, and other students).
  61. How to do research (online and with primary sources).
  62. How to learn (good study skills, how to self-teach, how to edit their work, etc).
  63. How to give back to others (volunteering, good deeds, helping others in need, etc).
  64. How to clean and organize their room/the house/their things, etc.
  65. How to have good relationships (choosing their friends, asking for help, empathy, resolving problems, etc).
  66. Homekeeping skills (yard work, laundry, basic handyman skills, etc).
  67. How to develop hobbies.
  68. How to save up and pay cash for an item that they really want.
  69. How to apply for and receive various documents that are useful in our society (driver's license, library card, passport, etc).
  70. How to safely use dangerous tools (knives, chainsaw, ax, etc).
  71. How to resolve a consumer dispute (asking for a refund, writing to the president of the company, getting publicity for a problem, etc).
  72. What to do if they get separated from the family (everywhere from at the mall to if the family is separated by a major disaster).
  73. How to plan, prepare for, and carry off a major event (party, family vacation, etc).
  74. How to check their credit report and fix any problems with it (obviously small children shouldn't have anything on their report but this prevents fraud).
  75. How not to become a victims of consumer fraud (ie: don't fall for scams, don't loan money to people, don't give out your private information, don't co-sign for friends, etc).
  76. Good work habits (how to show up on time at school/work, how to be organized, how to take direction, etc).
  77. How to type.
  78. How to effectively use technology (I'm sure they will teach you a bit about this).
  79. How to take responsibility for their actions.
  80. How to enjoy simple things in life (looking at clouds, taking a walk, etc).
  81. How to build good character skills (being responsible, owning up to mistakes, being kind, being confident but not arrogant, etc).
  82. How to call for and request appointments (doctor, dentist, car repair, etc), then how to record that appointment so it won't be missed.
  83. How to take care of babies and children (babysitting skills).
  84. How to take care of people who are ill.
  85. How to take care of people who are elderly.
  86. How to shop for food (finding sale items, figuring out the price for produce, how to choose ripe produce, how much meat to buy from the butcher, how to check expiration dates on dairy items, etc).
  87. How to open a checking and savings account, write a check, use an ATM card, and keep the accounts balanced.
  88. How to be observant (from playing " I Spy" with small children to walking through a crowd with teenagers and seeing how much they can remember).
  89. How to plan their future (will it be college, trade school, the military? Start preparing now).
  90. How to apply for credit and use it wisely.
  91. How to tithe.
  92. How to turn off the electricity, water, and gas in an emergency.
  93. What their legal rights are and how to interact with the police (ie: provide basic information and car license/insurance if requested, that they have the right to remain silent, that they don't have to open the door unless the police produce a warrant, etc).
  94. How to resist peer pressure (or how to get out of difficult situations when they are with their peers such as at a party or when their driver is drunk, etc).
  95. Some basis in religion or a higher power.
  96. Where to go when they or a friend need help (hint, it may not be you.  They need to know there are resources out there to provide help such as Planned Parenthood, the Suicide Helpline, 211, etc).
  97. How to protect themselves in social situations (how not to become a victim of date rape, kidnapping, hazing, etc).
  98. How to gamble (play poker, bet on the horses..and of course how not to lose your shirt doing these things).
  99. And a random assortment of other life skills: how to pack and move things, how to wear a suit, how to eat in a fancy restaurant, how to tie a tie, etc.
  100. And how not to do things (usually taught by your example) such as not smoking, not drinking, not doing drugs, not breaking the law, not lying...and all of those other things that could get them in trouble.