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What Practical Life Skills/Values
Are You Going To Teach Your Children?

by Ann Simpson

It's important that we teach our children practical life skills--skills that teach them how to survive in society--how to thrive in society. These practical life skills can be divided into at least six categories and the skills that fall within each category are many, varied and probably endless.  The question then arises as to which life skills you value and which life skills you and your spouse want to teach to your children.  I'd like to share with you what I am teaching my children--
  1. Communication skills.  It is absolutely critical that people learn how to effectively communicate with one another, both verbally and through the written word.  I'm teaching my kids the following--
    • Be truthful--your word means everything
    • Speak kindly--don't be hurtful with the words you use
    • Say please, thank you, no thank you, etc. People appreciate manners
    • Eye contact is very important
    • As important as your words are, your actions are even more important
    • When in doubt, ask questions
    • Being able to organize and write your thoughts down on paper is important
    • Realize that what you write may be read by many people--unintended readers as well as intended readers
    • Be very careful what you write/post on social network sites
    • Never, ever, ever use your communication skills to bully or make fun of anyone
  2. A similar important skill set is the formation and maintenance of relationships. The ability to form and maintain relationships affects every aspect of our lives.  Relationship beliefs and skills that I want my children to master include--
    • Treat others as you would like to be treated yourself
    • Do not confuse kindness for weakness. Recognize and value kindness
    • It's important to be reliable
    • There is no such thing as being too polite, too kind, or too reliable
    • Value other people's time
    • Friends come and go--but your family is forever
    • Empathy--it's very important
    • It is better to love and to be hurt, than never to love at all (I believe Shakespeare said it so much better!)
    • You love people for their faults as well as their strengths
    • It's important to treat animals kindly
    • Treat other people's property with respect
    • As important as your words are, actions are even more important (so important, it's mentioned more than once)
    • Be kind to those that love you
    • You have instincts for a reason. If something or someone doesn't feel right, trust yourself
    • Compromise is important
    • You don't always have to be right
    • It really is more fun to give than to receive
  3. Financial skills are extremely important as money is a necessary part of life.  The repercussions of not having these skills can be devastating. Financial skills that I want my children to learn include--
    • Understand the value of money
    • Know how to budget and live within your budget
    • Know how to make money through investment vehicles such as money market accounts, 401Ks, stock options, etc., and know how to purchase/invest in these vehicles
    • The concept of compound interest
    • If an investment opportunity looks too good to be true, then it probably is
    • The importance of a FICO score
    • The importance and pitfalls of credit
    • Know how to make a dollar go a long way
  4. Day to day living skills/concepts  are certainly important and should not be undervalued.  Every day living skills/concepts that I want my children to master include--
    • Know your way around a computer--know how to fix things--know how to use programs
    • Understand that Math and Science are extremely important
    • History is not dull. You really can learn from other's mistakes and triumphs
    • Know how to swim
    • Know how to maintain a vehicle so you don't run out of oil and so your windshield wipers always work
    • Be able to change a tire
    • If you make something from scratch it gives you a personal sense of accomplishment
    • One man's trash is another's treasure
    • Know how to do the wash, hem your pants, sew on buttons, and iron a garment
    • Know how to make healthy food
    • Know how to read a label
    • Know how to make a dollar go a long way (also a financial skill)
  5. Philosophical lessons are very important and can have an effect on one's happiness.  I want my children to understand the following--
    • Thoughts are very powerful
    • Enjoy what you have
    • Always do your best. Realize your best may change from day to day
    • It's ok to be wrong--in fact, that's how we learn
    • If something looks too good to be true, it probably is (again, important enough to be listed more than once)
    • Value and nurture your creativity
    • Value and nurture your own quiet times. Take time to rejuvenate
  6. Religious/Spiritual Lessons--these are very important, very personal and very family driven lessons.  My children do have a foundation.  They have their beliefs.  One of my children recently  commented that I teach by example. She had no idea what a wonderful compliment that was!

We do teach by example...as well as in lesson form.  And it's our responsibility to make sure our children possess the skills necessary to survive -- even to thrive in the real world.

So, the question is, what do you and your spouse want to teach your children?
 


 


   
 

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