• April 25, 2018, 06:13:19 AM

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Author Topic: Five things you want your (real or hypothetical) kids to learn before adulthood  (Read 4048 times)

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  • Trivia Buff
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everything that previous posters have mentioned, plus:

1. No job is beneath your dignity.

2. Be involved in your community.

3. Follow your instincts.

4. Personal responsibility.

5. Telephone etiquette (how to ask for and take a message for someone, that kind of thing)


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  • Rudeness is a small person's imitation of power.
It's interesting how many posters have said "learn to swim".  I just sink to the bottom and gave up trying years ago!


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All of the above, and:

Know how to ask for help
Know how to accept help
Embrace change
Toss clutter
Think of others more often than yourself


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It's interesting how many posters have said "learn to swim".  I just sink to the bottom and gave up trying years ago!

I agree! I never learned to swim. Nothing against it, it was just never a priority. I can see how it might fall into the category of "things you never thought you'd need to know until you need to know it NOW."


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1) That they are special, just the way they are
2) That there is light at the end of the tunnel
3) To care about the well-being of others as much as they care about themselves
4) Critical thinking
5) Basic manners

6) Fiscal responsibility
7) How to Swim


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Over the years, I have sent around the family multiple copies of "The Teenager's Guide to the Real World" by Marshall Brain. It's only available used from Amazon right now but the used price is right.

Good common sense about many issues.
There is no 'way to peace.' Peace is the way.


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My list is generic in its wording but each selection contains specifics about itself within.

1. I want to teach them to know how to learn.  This covers being able to figure out where to go to get information, how to filter information and be skeptical of its presentation, who to ask for help with things and how to do it, and the desire to suss out a solution by experimentation.

2. I want to teach them to support themselves.  That includes things like budgets and an understanding of money, the ability to feed themselves and prepare their own meals, and the ability to deal with their environment which covers tool skills, survival skills and emergency planning.

3. I want to teach them to handle their own safety.  This covers the understanding of safety rules, the ability to handle emergencies from swimming to CPR to self defense, how to understand contracts, commitments and obligations to keep from being suckered too easily and the situational awareness that helps them avoid and minimize dangers without stifling themselves.

4. I want to teach them how to interact well with others, which covers etiquette, how to dress themselves, and an understanding of empathy to help them get into other people's shoes.

5. I want to teach them to be curious.  Nobody is truly happy unless they've got something to drive them, and curiosity is the first essential step on that path.


Sheila Take a Bow

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In no particular order:

1.  I want her to learn compassion for all others.  I especially want her to understand that you can feel compassion without being dragged down into someone else’s trouble.

2.  I want her to learn to believe in herself.  I want her to understand that she is intelligent, beautiful, kind, and generous.

3.  I want her to learn optimism.  Things may not always work out for the best, but I want her always to believe that things can get better, no matter how bleak.

4.  I want her to learn trust, but not blind trust.

5.  I want her to learn how to express her feelings.  It’s still hard for her – at 4, she doesn’t always have the words to express her increasingly complex emotions.  But I want her to develop that language instead of just hiding what she’s feeling.


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1)  How to cook eggs (two ways), oatmeal, and pasta.  Additional foods are bonus, but you won't starve with this.
2)  How to do laundry w/o ruining anything
3)  How to clean house
4)  How to do basic maintenance around the house/yard
5)  How to budget money and meet payment due dates

-mother of a 19yo (who knows all 5), a 14yo (who has about 3.5 of these things down) and two 11yos (who have about 3 things down, each)


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    • Contemporary Jewelry
1- Respect for learning of all kinds, from theoretical to practical, along with how to research something and find information (I would be extra happy if they loved reading as well, but satisfied if they just were able to get the information they need and a desire to find said information)
2- Respect for others around them and society as a whole
3- How to set their goals, make plans and follow through. In this, I include things like how to organize their workflow, how to make long range plans and how to plan a party (or equivalent day to day stuff)
4- To analyse things critically, instead of passively accepting what they are told, and how to kindly convey this
5- How to have good relationships: with themselves, friends, family, loved ones and, yes, with the annoying people we have to put with.


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1) How to drive a car with a manual transmission.  This one won't be too terrible, since my car is a stick, and I refuse to drive an automatic, so they'll be learning on a stick shift anyway.

2) To be comfortable around guns.  I love shooting for sport, but I don't care one way or the other if they want to own guns when they grow up.  What I do care about is that they're comfortable enough around them to not be afraid of them, and to know what to do if they ever find themselves faced with the need to use one.

3) How to read a paper map.

4) To be comfortable with new/strange places and cultures and to be respectful of all people.

5) To value learning for the sake of learning.  I never want them to lose the sense of wonder and curiosity about the world around them.

My kids already know how to swim.  They were born in South Florida, and my house there had a pool, so they learned to swim almost before they learned how to walk.  I don't plan on staying in SF very long, and will likely wind up moving back to a "winter" environment, so the driving in the snow thing will take care of itself as well.
Some people lift weights.  I lift measures.  It's a far more esoteric workout. - (Quoted from a personal friend)


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1. Learn to drive and have as much driving experience as possible before leaving home.

2. Know how to get and keep a job.

3. Have a good knowledge and understanding of the things necessary to being a responsible citizen (history, government, geography, economy).

4.  Know how to say no and to hold your own in an argument. 

5. Have a basic knowledge of home maintenance and repair.


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1.  Self confidence, so that she will be able to believe in herself and her abilities.
2.  Self esteem, so that she recognizes her own value and is able to give but avoid being taken advantage of.
3.  Self care, so that she understands how to keep herself healthy, fit, groomed, and safe.
4.  Self improvement, so that she finds ways to learn and try new things throughout her life
5.  Self control, so that she can handle disappointment, temptation, anger, betrayal, frustration, and injustice in a positive way.

And pretty much everything previously mentioned, especially the very practical advice for things to know.


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1.  Nobody owes you a living.  You have to get off your backside and actively seek employment.  It's going to take time and a lot of energy, and there are no guarantees.
2.  Once you're lucky enough to find employment, remember that you're getting paid for what you do.  No job is "beneath you" when you're just starting out.  Not too many jobs are "beneath you" when you want to make a living wage, actually.  There are hundreds of people vying for your job, and you would do well to remember that.
3.  Your employers aren't stupid.  Don't ever make the mistake of holding them in contempt because you see yourself as "so much more intelligent" than they are.  They hold power over you, and they can keep you from being employable for the forseeable future if you shoot your mouth off at the wrong time.  Keep your yap SHUT!
4.  Nobody is going to pay you six figures a year when you're just out of school.  Adjust your expectations, and do your job.  You won't have a prayer of climbing the ladder if you refuse to go one rung at a time.
5.  Life isn't fair.  Get used to it.  To quote Robert Heinlein, TANSTAAFL.  ("There ain't no such thing as a free lunch.")

That's just the "employment" subset.  I wish that my parents had instilled these values into my brother... he's almost fifty and he still thinks that everyone who has ever employed him are morons and that he's the most intelligent human being on the planet.  Do I need to point out that he hasn't held a regular full-time job in almost thirteen years? ::)


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1. To follow a recipe
2. To budget, save and the value of an earned dollar
3. To swim (more safety than leisure)
4. To handle stressful or emergency situations without panicking
5. Common sense and manners

I like foreign languages and music and agree they areadmirable skills but I don't believe they are skills to be pushed on those uninterested and people can have perfectly productive successful lives without either.