As a homeschooling mom, I have a long list of things I want my boys to learn. I’m talking about reading, writing, pythagoras’ theorem, the periodic table, singing the alphabet song etc It’s a constantly evolving and growing list. But that’s not what I want to write about today.
Today I want to talk about Life skills. The life skills I want these little people to master. Skills that cannot be taught through a curriculum or a textbook, but from example, conversation and practical lessons. Skills that will prepare them for life more than science experiments and algebra ever will.
1. Budgeting and Saving : Don’t spend more than you earn. I think this is a big problem with young adults of today where they graduate and start earning a salary that is more money than they’ve ever had before. Suddenly they rent a fancy apartment they can’t really afford while paying off a new over the top car. I want to teach my boys how to save their money and budget for something they really want rather than splurging on the first sparkly thing.
2. Do all things with kindness : Whether dealing with the people you love, or people you’ve just met, treat everyone with kindness. Be polite. You never know what that person is dealing with today – don’t assume, just be kind. Never put someone else down to elevate yourself. If kindness is not reciprocated, you always have the option of walking away knowing you were kind. The world needs more love and positivity. Just be kind.
3. Know how to do practical stuff : Everything from changing a plug, changing a tyre, fixing a leaky tap to repairing a garage door motor. Knowing how to fix things yourself makes life a lot easier in the real world. I want you to at least be able to assess a situation and know whether you can attempt to fix the problem yourself or if you have to call a professional.
4. Feed yourself : I want you to be able to budget your grocery shopping, plan menus and cook for yourself. And cook well. Not just basic food to survive, but good, healthy, delicious meals to nourish and eventually feed your families. I don’t want you to grow up thinking that there are men’s jobs and women’s jobs – just that there are jobs. Also, there is nothing better than a man who can cook.
5. Dress yourself : Own and be able to rock at least one suit. Know how to shop for yourself and look good. Whether its work or casual, even your chill at home weekend wear, it shouldn’t make you look like a slob.
6. Know how to treat a lady : Treat every woman with the same amount of respect you would treat your mother, great Aunt Mildred or a sweet girl you like. I want you to be gentlemen. Old school is super cool. Hold open doors, pull out chairs, be hygienic, look smart, master a good handshake, reach for the cheque. I don’t want you to be walked all over, obviously, but there is something special about a man with impeccable manners who knows how to treat a lady right.
7. Be good with kids : (If you ask my 11 year old what he wants to be when he grows up, his answer is always this : “I want to be a dad, a good husband and a chef.” Those are his priorities. In order. It’s pretty cute.) I want you boys to be involved, loving, hands on dads / uncles / godfathers. Men who are good with kids are the best kind. Know how to soothe an upset baby, change a nappy, make a bottle. Good skills to have.
8. Be honest always : Sometimes telling the truth might be the hardest thing, and sometimes it will hurt, but the truth is the only way. You want people to respect your word and know that you have integrity.
9. Find Passion : One of the best ways to be successful in life is to find something you are passionate about and then do that for a living. You won’t know what you want to do yet, but when you do find something you love, stick with it and make it happen! You don’t have to be a brain surgeon or rocket scientist, if you want to be an artist or a dish washer or a stay at home dad, if it makes you happy, it pays the bills and you are passionate about it – do it.
10. Enjoy Life : You have one life. Live it. Love it. Work hard. Love hard. Cherish the moments. Cherish the people you care most about. Be happy. Be content.