Teach Your Children Well: Skills Goals

Teach your children wellWhen I was young my parents bought a piano – not because they were eager to play (Mom played some), but because they had a goal. And it wasn’t the goal you would expect. They didn’t desire for their children to become master pianists. Instead, the goal was simply for all of us to learn how to read music. We had to take lessons long enough to have learned to play with both hands – treble and bass clef – with decent proficiency. After that it was up to us to decide whether we continued.

Their desire to impart that skill made an impression on me. It made me conscious as a parent about what skills I wanted to invest in seeing my children master, that might fall outside the scope of an academic environment or basic life skills. Reading music is one. Downhill skiing is another – in spite of the fact that we live in a very flat part of the country (after all, it’s a sport you can enjoy into adulthood that is much easier to master at a younger age). Basic hand and machine sewing is a third.

This summer my husband had yet another specific skill on his radar for sharing with our youngest daughter: water skiing. A few summers ago, to her dad’s delight, Bethany, our 17-year-old, became confident at water skiing. But then Katherine, who is much more cautious, decided it wasn’t her thing at all and refused to try. Which left Evelyn. After years of daredevil tubing (“look, no hands!” she’d mouth at me while waving wildly as her tube bounced over the boat’s wake), it made sense that water skiing would suit her. She is ready to give it a go. So Mike has made a priority of finding a time where the two of them can get out on his parents’ boat (along with my sister-in-law & brother-in-law, to drive or spot) so she can learn to ski. That is his summer bucket list goal for Evelyn.

Have you ever thought about what skills you want your children to master that might take extra planning and effort? What knowledge or ability could serve them well in life? Are you proficient at something that others marvel over, that you could teach your kids? Or is there a skill you wish you had gained as a kid, but didn’t and don’t want your kids to miss out on? Consider keeping a list of these skills goals and actively providing opportunities for your kids to learn them.


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  • Sue LeBreton

    I wish I was proficient at something “others marvel over.” But for me it was teaching my kids to ice skate. I think as a Canadian you need to know how to do this, even if you never skate well. My daughter enjoys it more than my son but he can skate so was able to skate with me and his grandfather on Lake Louise- a huge bucket list item for me.

    • http://www.larakrupicka.com/ Lara Krupicka

      I have a feeling there are those who would marvel at your ability to skate – especially those living in warmer climates (I admit that I’m often jealous when I see your posts about getting out skating).

      I skated a bunch as a teen because they froze the soccer field across the street from our house, so it was easy to get out there on the ice. And then I took an ice skating class in college to refine my skills. But I’ve only had my kids out a handful of times and haven’t done much skating at all myself in recent years, so I couldn’t really teach them. So bravo to you, Sue, for teaching your kids! It is a good skill to have.