The next topic on the “Children” part of our diagram is Life Skills.
What do I mean by “Life Skills”? Basically, the whole range of what children need to know to function as independent adults in this world. Everything from brushing their teeth to learning to drive a car. From setting the table to moving the lawn. From developing positive character qualities to learning how to sort their laundry. The list, if one existed, could go on to infinity. But wait! There is a list and it is located here. This one page summary (taken from the Teaching Home magazine and edited by us over the years) is a good starting point.
Many of these skills will be learned by repetition or just “catching on” as we live out our family life. But several of these ideas will need intentional direction, will need specific instruction. And it was a help to us to have something like this in front of us with the basics to be covered. Now the list is not meant to be exhaustive or overwhelming. You have about 18 years to get it done. It is also not designed to be one more big job on your part as a parent. They are simply ideas that we work into the natural ebb and flow of our family.
For example, when we wanted to teach our children how to prepare dinner, we instituted a plan to have one child pick the evening meal once a week and help Rhonda put it together. It was a great time of Mom and child interaction and learning. It taught some basic skills we wanted to get across. But we did not feel compelled to take this good idea to a limit of wearing it out. We probably did this for six months or so and then went on to something else. (Cleaning up after dinner and doing the dishes, on the other hand, was a lifetime job that we shared around as long as someone was in the house.)
In a Christian home, there should be the appropriate focus on spiritual training. But I have observed too many times a lack of focus on life skills. It is as if parents are thinking that if we ignore the world, or insulate our kids from the world, maybe its adult demands will go away. Career preparation (girls included) and learning how to maneuver in this world are not secular activities to avoid, but opportunities to teach our children how a Christ-follower navigates the adult world.
You will do your children a great service by thinking through and putting into practice a plan to teach them “Life Skills”.