One of the biggest “red pill” moments for me as a father was realizing how much is NOT taught in schools.
As I contemplated the skills I want my two sons to be armed with before they leave the comfort of my home, I realized something: I learned zero of these skills in school. I went to a private Christian school too, not some under-performing public school.
Foolish is the father who outsources all of the teaching to only the “teachers.” It is on each of us as the leaders of our households to take an active role in passing down the tools, knowledge, and skills to our children. My personal goal is to raise men among boys.
I want to share with you 27 skills your kids are not being taught in school. I wish I came up with the list myself. Last week, @VibrantDad posted the list on X (formerly Twitter) and it was so good, I asked him if I could steal it for today’s newsletter. He graciously agreed.
Before your children leave your home, they should know the basics of how money works. They should know the fundamentals of investing and the power of compound interest. They should know what banks do with their money. They should know what interest rates are.
I knew absolutely none of this when I graduated from high school. This will not be my sons.
You cannot simply “tell” a child to think critically. It is be a learned behavior. We can encourage our kids to be curious and to even question authority (yes, including us).
I try to consciously walk through some basic steps of critical thinking when my little ones are peppering me with questions.
• Formulate your question
• Gather your information
• Apply the information
• Consider the implications
• Explore other points of view
This one is pretty self-explanatory. Taxes are an unfortunate part of life and your kids should be prepared to handle it.
My oldest son, 5, is already on my case about starting up his first business. It might still be a couple years out but, when we do, I plan to walk him through the entire process of filing his business taxes.
Since I am far from the expert on this one, I plan on going through former FBI lead hostage negotiator Chris Voss’ entire masterclass on negotiation with both of my sons.
If you don’t have all the information, find someone who does.
“Discipline is freedom.” That’s a quote from former Navy SEAL Jocko Willink.
It might sound counterintuitive, but the truth of the matter is: if we are doing everything all the time, we’re actually doing nothing. We must have structure and prioritization to our schedule and focus if we are to be excellent in anything.
Get into a habit with your kids of mapping out your following day. The more detailed the better. They will wake up each morning ready to conquer the day because they already know what they are going to do!
I wish someone would have told me how true this old cliche statement is: “Your network is your net worth.”
I would have spent a lot more time focusing on building my network, shaking more hands, rather than having my head down in a laptop all the time.
Teach your kids to never burn bridges and to treat everyone with kindness and respect because you never know who could hold the key to the next door they want to walk through.
This was another skill I had to learn on my own. Consider conducting mock interviews with employers’ most-asked questions
This exercise can also be a solid way to boost self-esteem as they become comfortable in their qualifications and areas of competence.
There are few things more satisfying than the wonder on your child’s face when they realize something that they planted in the dirt grew into food that they can eat.
It wasn’t just a skill-building exercise, it also brought myself and my sons closer to God in the process. I can’t recommend growing your own food with your kids strongly enough.
Set weekly, monthly, yearly, and even longer term goals with your kids.
It could be something as simple as “earn enough allowance to pay for concert tickets” or something as ambitious as “become the starting quarterback of the varsity football team.”
Try your best not to let your own perceived limitations impact their goal-setting. It’s OK for them to dream big and fail. That’s all part of the process.
No matter what business you are in, persuasion and sales is still the name of the game. It doesn’t matter if you’re selling an actual product, a service, or even your own brand.
If your kids learn how to take command of a room and speak effectively in public, they will be head and shoulders above their competition in the marketplace.
When something needs fixed around the house, invite your kids to help you. Give them a hammer. Let them drive in the nail. Teach them how much can be fixed with their own two hands.
I was surprised how quickly my oldest son became competent with a Dewalt impact drill (under supervision). He feels confident enough to fix anything at this point.
Even when I have professionals come to fix things, I let my boys watch and ask questions.
Yesterday, I came across a video of a little boy who was in his dad’s junkyard. His dad told him he could keep any car that he could get running. So, the little boy got to work.
I’ll be damned if that kid didn’t get one of those junkers to start right up. Just then, I texted a buddy of mine who has an automotive shop and asked him if he could teach my boys a thing or two about fixing cars. He obliged.
Our kids are capable of so much more than we think.
Even young children can be taught how to dial 911 in the event of an emergency and taught skills like applying pressure to a wound to stop bleeding or hands-only CPR.
Add onto these skills as you see fit as your kids get older.
Teaching your children the art of being present could be the greatest gift you ever give them.
For anyone reading this who hasn’t tried mindfulness or meditation, give it a chance. I promise you will not regret it.
This is one we are actively working on right now. One of the most challenging parts is teaching a child not to interrupt others when they speak. They are so excited and bursting with ideas, it can be difficult to let another person fully articulate their ideas.
Like many lessons, one of the best ways to teach them is by how you communicate with them. When they are excited to tell you something, be excited to listen.
They say the key to resolving conflict is the three R's: recognize the conflict, respond to the conflict, and resolve the conflict.
I have it on authority from my much smarter PhD wife that teaching kids to communicate how they are feeling during conflict helps them to rationalize and start to work through it.
Check out the rest of the list and feel free to respond to this email with any big ones you think we missed:
19. Relationship building
20. Basic cooking skills
21. Real estate basics
22. Retirement planning
23. Basic legal rights
24. Understanding contracts
25. Problem-solving skills
26. Proper nutrition
27. Proper physical fitness
Reminder: Follow @VibrantDad on X!
God bless you all,
Founder, High Value Dad