16. How to be discerning when considering books, films, music, friends: When your child is picking entertainment or company, teach them how to be prudent and wise. Tell them to ask themselves, “Is this wholesome?” “Will it be good for my mind?” “Do these friends make me better?” For media review, we love the site www.pluggedin.com
17. How to write a proper thank you note: These should be written (not emailed) and sent in the mail within one month of receiving the gift. They should be written neatly and be heartfelt and authentic—expressing sincere gratefulness.
18. How to run a 5K or something similar: You may or may not include this on your list. I think it is important because it’s important to me. Teaching my kids to train for, and run, a race produces in them mental toughness and perseverance.
19. How to take care of pets: As a child, I always had pets and felt they taught me compassion and responsibility. My children now have pets to feed, clean, train, and love.
20. How to write lists/goals and complete them: Teach your kids the importance of writing down the things that need to be done. Challenge them to write goals for themselves and discover ways to achieve these dreams.
21. Basic Medical knowledge: Every Haverkamp child had to learn basic first aid, CPR, and the Heimlich maneuver. I made them learn these because I allowed them all to babysit other children and I felt these skills were necessary. This knowledge has also come in handy on our annual backpacking trips—especially when their mother falls and sprains her ankle.
22. How to ride public transportation by themselves: Riding a bus or taxi can be daunting if you have never done it before. Teach your child to check out the bus schedule for appropriate routes and times or call the taxi service and request a car. Then have them walk or ride their bike to the bus/taxi stop.
23. How to speak to old people: Some kids are intimidated by the very old. When your children are young, take them to nursing homes and hospitals and allow them to converse with the elderly. Tell them to speak slowly and clearly and to treat the person with honor.
24. How to take care of children: I alluded to this in the basic medical care section. Babysitting younger children is an important skill your kids need to gain. Not only does this prepare them for parenthood, but it gives them the opportunity to learn how to change a dirty diaper, rock a sleepy baby, and make supper with one hand.
25. How to Swim: Every kid needs to know how to swim—it doesn’t have to be pretty, it just has to save their lives.
26. How to be a good guest: Teach your kids respect for property—yours and everyone else’s. If your kids stay at another’s home, babysit, or rent an apartment, the rule should always be: “Leave it cleaner than you found it.”
27. How to remember birthdays and special days of family/friends: Teach your kids how to be a good friend. Good friends invest in others and acknowledge their special days with a note, a gift, or a simple email.
28. How to give a meaningful gift: Giving good gifts takes skill and observation of other’s preferences. Teach your kids to think about what will make others feel special or loved.
29. How to make and keep their own appointments: If you, as the parent, always make and transport your child to their doctor’s, dentists, and optometrist appointments, when are they ever going to learn this skill themselves? Have your kids plug those important phone numbers into their phones and guide them in this task.
30. How to call their mom and tell her they love her. Moms need this. And they need it often. Tell your kids to call Dad too. Even a text is good—anything will do when your baby is far away.
“Sons are a heritage from the LORD,
children a reward from him.
Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
are sons born in one’s youth.
Blessed is the man
whose quiver is full of them.
They will not be put to shame
when they contend with their enemies in the gate.”