When I got to college it was amazing how many of my roommates didn’t know how to do laundry or cook something other than ramen noodles. I could respect someone eating Ramen noodles because they were broke, but I struggled with the grown people that didn’t know how to fulfill basic functions of daily life. Even so, I felt I could address all of the basic physical things kids need to know in number one on the list below. There are other things, like issues of character, that are even more essential to a full and happy life.
These are just ten things your child should not leave your home without knowing how to do.
1. How not to stink, and other basic needs: Every independent person needs to know how to do their own laundry, brush their teeth, shower, and wear deodorant. It doesn’t hurt to know how to shop for groceries, cook a decent meal and clean either. This seems simple but it can have a serious implication on social and professional success. Regardless of your child’s style or identity, cleanliness and hygiene are essential life skills.
2. How to wait: The skill of being able to wait for the things they want will pay enormous dividends in the long run. Without this skill, no amount of talent or education can create success. Delayed gratification is the foundation of perseverance and perseverance the champion of success.
3. How to tell the truth: Honesty is a dwindling virtue. Teaching our kids honesty however is more effectively taught by example and consistency then by calling them out or calling them a liar, even if they have lied. Trust is what connects people. Without it all your child’s relationships will be superficial. With it comes a depth and freedom that can be matched no other way.
4. How to do nice things for others, just because: Kindness, compliments and benevolence are the “relationship candy,” only without the part that makes you fat. Random acts of kindness can make us smile in the midst of so many thing that can make us frown. Learning to be kind and do nice things without expectation of reciprocation builds personal purpose in one’s life and is a main ingredient of a healthy relationship recipe. This is about leaving the world better than you found it. Contribute. Share yourself, your talents and your love with others.
5. How to say “No!:” No is the boundary we use to set limits on what we will accept and what we will not accept. When people fail to use the word “No” to things they do not want, like or value, they regret or resent what follows. Knowing how to say “no” also implies that they can effectively say “Yes” to things they do want in their life.
6. How to be smart: The skill of learning how to learn is as important as what we learn. The desire to read; the drive to learn things that interest them without being compelled by an outside force is more valuable than gold.
7. How to be a friend: There is always a controversy when people ask, “should I be a parent or a friend?” My answer is always, “Yes.” The real answer is that a TRU Parent is a real friend. It’s true, parents are not the run of the mill teenage friend that let anything fly without teaching or consequences, but the parent/child relationship is the first and maybe most appropriate laboratory for what a real friend is. A parent is what a real friend should be.
8. What romance REALLY is: Teach your child the value of and how to treat the opposite sex. Show our children what a committed relationship looks like. Teach them that romance is magical but the magic dies if we are not responsible and treat the one we love with patience, kindness and commitment.
9. How to be unrealistic: Everyone needs to dream. Our dreams motivate us to do and be more. The most important element of teaching kids to dream is simply not to shoot their dreams down. Kids dream naturally. We just need to encourage the dream.
10. How to make problems into opportunities: To be independent, kids need to know how to solve problems in constructive ways. When they know how to be constructive in problem solving, problems evolve into something more. They become opportunities for something greater.
Question: What are the top things you think your kids need to know before they leave your home?
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