Useful Knowledge.

The other day I was teaching my younger daughter how to measure flour, and the difference between baking soda and baking powder.  I got thinking about the things every kid should learn while still under a parent’s tutelage.  I thought I’d start a list.  In no particular order, here we go… 

All kids should learn how to

1.   Sew on a button.

2.  Do laundry.

3.  Apologize.

4.  Make an appointment (and keep it).

5.  Iron a shirt.

6.  Scramble eggs.

7.  Lose – and win – gracefully.

8.  Accept a compliment.

9.  Pack a suitcase.

10.  Write a thank you note.

11.  Make small talk, as in an elevator, or when waiting in line.

12.  Read a bank statement.

13.  Plant a garden.

14.  Offer a small speech of thanks or a toast.

15.  Look at the fine print.

I think that gives me enough to work on for now.  What’s on your list?



Filed under Everyone is Entitled to My Opinion, Lifebits

27 responses to “Useful Knowledge.

  1. knitwonpurltoo

    Accept an apology graciously.
    Tell time without a digital read-out.
    Listen with intent.
    Love and show love.
    Iron (you never know;-)

    I’m dying to hear others. It’s a bit early for me to be profound!

  2. Beth

    speak up when someone’s being mistreated.

  3. Minda

    Read a challenging book.

  4. Elizabeth L in Apex, NC

    -> Create, and stick to, a budget.
    -> Say “No” kindly when possible, forcefully when necessary.
    -> Know and be a true friend.

  5. Balance a checkbook.
    Drive a stick shift.
    Clean a bathroom.
    Read a map.
    Accept responsibility and the consequences of their actions.
    Mow the grass.
    Parallel park.
    Use a hammer and nail (and screw driver)
    How to read directions.
    How to ask for help.

  6. Knit, of course!
    Your list is excellent, and can’t think of much to add.

    Oddly enough, I was just thinking a few days ago that all kids, regardless of gender, should be taught basic home-ec skills (cooking, cleaning, laundry, sewing), and something like woodworking, where they can learn which end of a hammer to use and some basic carpentry skills.

    Learning how to change a flat tire and jump a dead battery are useful, too. And sadly, not always taught in Driver’s Ed.

  7. Oooh, the comments are good too, especially Elizabeth’s. I still don’t know how to do 1, 9, 10, 13, or 15, or stick to a budget. (I can create them like nobody’s business!)
    – deal with disappointment
    – earn something big they want by working and/or saving
    – cook a balanced meal
    – tell themselves NO!

  8. Beth

    care for an animal.

    regard charity as a priority.

    wait for the sale!

  9. meal plan
    basic first aid
    how to swim without holding the nose (my mom was a stickler about that!)
    play an instrument
    at least two card games

    I love these kinds of lists. Makes me think about what I still need to learn!!

  10. ~know how to make change without a calculator or cash register (it drives me nutso)
    ~drive a stick shift
    ~learn how to entertain themselves, without tv or computer or video games
    ~make bread (it’s a wonderful thing and a science lesson)
    ~preserve food – either canning, or freezing or drying herbs
    ~make jelly
    ~learn the basics of a sewing machine – if just for saving $ on clothing repairs or opening a whole world of things they can do – like make their own curtains in their first apartment when $ is tight.

    I’m big on the skills that I see as being lost in our society. Things that helped our families survive and make this country prosper. I look at this economic crisis – could many people today survive through a depression?

    I look at the quilts my great-grandmothers made, the doilies crocheted and tatted. Learning to make pysanki eggs (I’m the last in my family that knows – which is sad since I’ll have no one to pass it on to) The summer days spent with my grandfather in his gardens and the steamy afternoons spent canning what we picked. Oh, and stealing the strawberries when no one was looking. Canning jellies and jams with my mom. My other grandparents had an apple orchard and they would send us kids out to pick them.

    I guess it’s not just the being prepared, it’s also the memories that can be created.

    ACK! I started to get all icky squishy. Must.Stop. Thanks for making me think Nora! xoxo

  11. oh yeah, and HOW TO CLEAN UP A MESS. we will be working on that one today. And we will be teaching Daddy how giving a 3 yr old ice cream for breakfast and then leaving him alone in an upholstered chair is a not-good idea.

  12. Much of your list I learned later in life, trial and error. It would have been better to learn it early on from a parent. All the comments are good, too.

  13. Great list! I’d add:

    Learn basic phone skills (how to ask to speak to their friends and sound polite).

    Hold the door open for others.

    Clean mud off their shoes without the use of the power spray on the garden hose (don’t ask!).

  14. I’d add being able to cook a simple meal. meatloaf, baked potato and green beans – something like that.

  15. Great list, and wonderful addenda! I think the financial management skills are needed more than ever, as well as homemaking skills – cooking, fixing, etc.

  16. Fabulous post and list.

    Learn to be kind. Even to people we do not care for.
    Learn to keep a level head in an emergency. There is always time to freak out later.
    Be able to look a doctor/nurse/dentist/vet in the eye and ask questions. Stay put until you understand what you’ve been told and have gotten answers for all your questions.
    Be brave enough to question doctors about their choices. (The stories I could tell.)
    Live within your means.
    Be able to know where all the money goes every month.
    Know where your food comes from and how it ends up on your table.

  17. I like #10 a LOT. It’s amazing how many have not learned simple manners.

  18. Those are all such great things to know! I think my parents may actually have tried, but alas, I prefer the hard way.

    I’d go w/know how to make change, balance a checkbook, know what your money is doing (out the door every day? sitting in the bank earning money just how? There are a staggering number of people who don’t know how stocks work beyond buying them)

    Sew. Small talk.

  19. I wish my parents had taught me better about managing money. That’s my biggest failure.

    I’m proud of what they did get into my head – respect for others and a killer work ethic are my favorites. Some others that I think we need to teach our children:

    – Respect your elders
    – Stop to listen to your grandparents’ stories
    – Learn how to cope with heartache

  20. I was just introducing my nephew to flour-measuring this week, too.

    That is a great list, as are the additions from the comments.


  21. Write for the love of writing. Be kind to others (especially when they seem to least deserve it.) Use critical thinking skills. And if it comes down between laughing and crying, try to pick laughing.

  22. Janet came close to what I was thinking. Kids need to learn how to clean house. Not just picking up their rooms, but how to dust, vacuum, wash windows and floors, clean the tub and toilet; and clean the kitchen — including the oven! (These days they’re mostly self-cleaning, but they still need a final wipe.)

    This used to be a Saturday morning requirement in our house and I’d complain about it, but it came in helpful when I left home. I still clean house better than any maid service we ever had.

  23. Joan

    Good lists. I also think kids need to be taught that there is no shame in saying, “I’m sorry, it happened on my watch, I accept the responsibility and I will make it good” instead of yelling, “It’s not my fault– I didn’t do it on purpose!!”. Goes for adults, too…

  24. Some very excellent suggestions here. I am ashamed to say that I did not teach my boys all those things, although they are fine boys who can take care of themselves pretty well.

  25. What a great post.

    I think all kids should learn to recognize when they are afraid to try something new and not let that stop them.

  26. Nice topic and great things to know/teach from you and the comments. I’ll repeat the balance the checkbook monthly item.

  27. I love your list and all the comments!!!! Amen, amen, amen!

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