I recently came across a list of 40 things that today’s kids need to learn. I read through the list and it got me thinking about the stuff I have taught my son or want to teach him that some kids these days may not know.

Why have I taught him these things? Does it even matter? My mom and dad taught me these things. Am I preserving their legacy or am I just trying to force my son to learn outdated things to make myself feel like a good mom? 

Neither. I teach him these things because I feel like they genuinely make a difference for him. They build character and are helping him learn how to take care of himself and those around him.


Hospital Corners

The other day, I read that top sheets are going out of fashion these days. Not in my house! My mother drilled into me how to make a bed properly. You put on the fitted sheet, which is the easy part. Then, evenly lay the flat sheet on top of the fitted sheet. It’s important to tuck it into the end of the bed correctly so that it will stay tightly in place. Do people no longer have the few minutes it takes for this step? 

Watch Me Grow

In years past, we’ve created a small garden in our yard. We’ve planted tomatoes, peas, green beans, carrots, various peppers, and herbs. Some years, we did pretty good. Other years, the birds and rabbits benefited the most from our hard work. But the process was always fun: planning the plot, buying seeds, watching them sprout, and enjoying our harvest. My son truly loved growing his own food and it was a great lesson in knowing where our food comes actually comes from. Besides veggies, gardening also grows the skills of planning, nurturing, hard work and commitment.

Do It Yourself

Recently, our bathroom faucet was leaking. My son’s suggested solution was to call a plumber. My solution was to research what may be wrong and do some investigation. Teaching our children to think critically and work towards solving problems on their own is invaluable. This year, my son also has experienced doing routine maintenance on his bike. He can replace tires and inner tubes, pedals, and the chain. These DIY projects are good for learning how to use tools properly and safely, too. 

Hats Off

My old fashioned rule is no hats at the dinner table and no hats inside places of worship. Seems like a common courtesy, but I see many people, kids and adults, wearing hats indoors. Removing hats is a simple way to show respect to those around you.

Open that Card First

When it’s time for your birthday, make sure you open the giver’s card before you open their gift. Don’t be so anxious for the gift that you miss out on the giver’s well wishes for your special day.

Send a Note

And after you’ve opened that card and gift, make sure to send a note of your own saying thank you. I’ve made sure to teach my son the proper way to create a thank you note by including the salutation, body and a closing signature. The practice of sitting down to compose a handwritten note makes the receiver appreciate the gift more, I think. It helps us grow in gratitude for what we’ve been given. 

Look Out for Others

We have a sweet neighbor who lives alone and has had her share of health issues in recent years. It’s been a blessing to help her when we can. It’s been especially wonderful to share the experience with my son. Whether we are watching her cat, picking up some groceries, taking a meal to her home or just sitting a while for a chat, it’s good for him to see compassion in action. 

Turn that Off

Lastly, I’ve made sure that my son knows how to entertain himself without electronics or battery operated things. We play a lot of board games at our house, and I encourage my son to be outside riding his bike, playing with toys and reading. I never want him to be too plugged in. I’m also delaying getting him a cell phone or allowing social media accounts until he is older so he has time to interact with the world around him. 

Our kids are better people for learning how to do these timeless practical, respectful and caring tasks.  I hope that my son takes what he has experienced and learned into adulthood. What seemingly outdated or old fashioned skills have you taught your kids? Post it in the comments!


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Gretchen has lived in Colorado since she was 12 and never wants to leave. She has a 13-year-old son who is into having a good time, especially with sports and Fortnite. Together, they are navigating the teen world of puberty and growing up. She has a wonderful husband, having been surprised and blessed with a second chance at love. Their family enjoys playing board games, watching Avengers movies, and sharing dumb jokes over good food. In her free time, she loves to read, shop for purses, play games, watch football, laugh with her family, cook delicious food, and dream of the next home improvement project.