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raising kids: choosing hobbies/skills


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#1 of 50 OFFLINE   Garrett Lundy

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Posted April 04 2005 - 10:43 AM

This thread is for discussion on what skills/ativities/etc you think are important for teaching (or paying someone else to teach) your kids. Or what did you wish you learned at 12 you never did, or what was a big waste of time/money for your parents?

Activities I'd like to instill in my children:

Typing: When I was growing up, just before the internet emerged from its military niche, typing was well on its way to becoming quaint technology. Voice recording and recognition software was touted as the "way of the future", and as a result I never learned typing. But now with the internet typing and literacy are more important skills than when I was a kid, I think i'd make sure that proper typing was taught early and refreshed often. I'm typing with the "religious method" right now ("seek and ye shall find")

Foriegn Language: I feel this is the largest difference when compared to how I was raised. My parents were of the "if you move to America its your job to speak english" generation, and I had a whole semester of French in middle school, because everybody vacationed in Paris. Personally I'll do everything in my power to teach a 2nd language starting at birth. (my current foster kid didn't start a second language till highschool as a requirement and as a result, will probably never become accomplished or care for it).

In the globalizing future, I think its probably the best thing i could do. and I'd start with either Spanish (because america is becoming more latinized), or mandarin-chinese, because China will likely become THE global player for the next generation.

Martial Arts: I have never fought-off an attacker, or even gotten into a fistfight since I took my first TaeKwonDo lesson at 13, but it remains as probably my most important life lesson. What I learned about self control, respect, self motivation, and improvement I wouldn't trade for an extra million in cash. I'll do everything I can to get my offspring intrested in any of the martial arts, because I believe it provide the greater lifestyle benefit than any other activity.

Activites I won't be instilling in my children:

Fishing: I like eating fish, but fishing has to be the most godawful boring passtime ever devised. Plus I'd have to buy a boat ( a major expense), and at best, what could i hope to instill in my children: That happiness is sitting still and drinking a 12-pack at a time? I think not. I'm also against "hunting" that involves never leaving a tree-stand or duck blind. If you wanna hunt fine... but don't sit real still for 8 hours and hope for animals to walk in front of your rifle you lazy SOB.

Piano lessons: I guess my parents thought I was supposed to be the next Lang Lang. What they got was years of piano tutor bills and a grown child that can't remember how to play chopsticks. i didn't learn because I didn't want to learn at the time. So if any of my kids want to learn to play a musical instrument, that'll be peachy, but I won't ever suggest that they should learn if they don't want to.
"Did you know that more people are murdered at 92 degrees Fahrenheit than any other temperature? I read an article once. Lower temperatures, people are easy-going, over 92 and it's too hot to move, but just 92, people get irritable."

#2 of 50 OFFLINE   Patrick Sun

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Posted April 04 2005 - 10:46 AM

Personal finance - learn how to balance a checkbook, and teach them the value of money, and the value of saving money instead of blowing it on instant gratification items.
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#3 of 50 OFFLINE   Seth--L

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Posted April 04 2005 - 11:30 AM

I agree that piano, or simply instrumental lessons is worth it. Chances are your kid won't become the next Richter (but maybe Lang Lang), but if they enjoy it, it will be something that they can do for the rest of their life.

Similarly, when it comes to sports, I'd recommend tennis. Along with golf, it's one of the few sports you can play into your extreme old age (my grandfather still plays twice a week at 89), but unlike golf, you get a good workout from it. Tennis is important to learn when your young. Once people get into their mid-teens, they become incapable of learning how to properly swing the racket and good footwork. As a result, you'll be a bad player for life.
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#4 of 50 OFFLINE   DustinLC

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Posted April 04 2005 - 12:34 PM

Not a bad list although typing is sort of a must these days. Everyone can type. If you can't, you're a caveman Posted Image.

Art! Get them to draw and paint. Art teaches you many things in life:

How to have patience, be indepedence, be creative, recognize the beauty around us and be observant, develop hand and finger coordination.

Art also takes a lot time so it'll keep them out of trouble and away from MTV Posted Image.

#5 of 50 OFFLINE   Garrett Lundy

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Posted April 04 2005 - 12:46 PM

I'd be perfectly happy raising a child who will never know what Mtv, Pepsi or McDonalds are. Once they join the military or go to college they can shovel whatever garbage they desire down their throats.... I will have hoped to instilled enough personal responsibility for them to know what they'll be doing to themselves.
"Did you know that more people are murdered at 92 degrees Fahrenheit than any other temperature? I read an article once. Lower temperatures, people are easy-going, over 92 and it's too hot to move, but just 92, people get irritable."

#6 of 50 OFFLINE   Kyle McKnight

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Posted April 04 2005 - 02:25 PM

Anything to build math & science skills. Getting them interested in electronics and circuitry can be fun for both of you. Combine that with hockey and general fitness Posted Image
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#7 of 50 OFFLINE   Jon_Gregory

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Posted April 04 2005 - 03:25 PM

Sports, sports, sports,

And more sports. Try different things as they grow up. Don't worry, unless you push them to hard, they will tell you they don't like a certain sport. If you have the money get them involved in what ever sport fancies them at the time, it's a good thing to do. I grew up and played, baseball, football, soccer, swimming, golf, tennis, and enjoyed them all, but ended up sticking to soccer as my main one.

Sports teaches a child so much more than how to kick, catch, and throw balls etc. They teach sharing, being part of team, leadership, responsibility, motor skills, and gets the kids outside. It teaches a student how to manage their time when they have to balance school with sports. And I could go on and on.

Just teach them their education will and should always come first with everything. Math and science are keys to success in today's technology driven society and will be this way for all future generations to come.

I could go on and on about how my parents raised me to become a well to do, happily married, 23 yr old, Electrical Engineer, that owns his own house and has no other debt to speak of other than the house. I have never been given any hand outs from anyone, and everyone can do the same as long as the right goals and ambitions are set into a child's mind that they can accomplish anything they set their mind to.

Parenting is such a big task and I see more children these days being raised with no goals or ambitions in their life.

I say ask your children what they want to do. Give them some advise and steer them to what you think they might enjoy (not what you want them to enjoy) when they're younger, but when they tell you they want to try something else, let them. Sooner or later they will find their niche and then support them all the way.

Too me the biggest waste of time and money that you can do is to spend that time and money on something they are not enjoying.

Sorry for the rant, just had some thoughts.

#8 of 50 OFFLINE   Al.Anderson

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Posted April 05 2005 - 01:38 AM

We tried to get our two kids into one each of: a team sport, an individual sport, and an artistic endeavor. I would sign them up for whatever interested them and see where it led.

On a side note, my wife and I insisted on limiting organized activities to 2-3 at a time. We saw so many over committed kids who were being pushed through these things with seemingly little enjoyment. We felt kids should have down time as well as organized time. Playing in the back yard, and yes, even Nintendo was a good thing, as long as it was part of a varied schedule.

The real hard part was when they were actually good at something but not interested. My duaghter was really taking to piano and softball but really didn't care for either. My son was a good basketball player, but wanted no part of them game. I encourageed them to say one session past their voiced displeasure and then backed off.

I also tried to stay away from year-round activites. I wanted to have breaks built in. Interestingly, that didn't work at all; when they like something there doesn't seem to be a burnout factor like I was afraid of.

Funny about the martial arts things though, my son wanted to try it out (age 7) but all the clubs I checked out wanted what I considered too high a level of committment. Nearly all insisted on 3 or more days a week, plus regular tournaments, and regular belts at 40-75 bucks a shot; a good percentage were into organized community service activities. I didn't think a young kid should be that commited to one activity; so we didn't join.

So what they settled on is:
daughter- dancing, acting, drawing (anime/manga). (Softball just went at age 13.)
son- baseball, tennis, fencing, soccer, reading (Reading Olympics school club)

#9 of 50 OFFLINE   Chu Gai

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Posted April 05 2005 - 01:43 AM

Reading so that they learn how not to think in terms of sound bites.
Sports so that they're too tired to get into as much trouble.

#10 of 50 OFFLINE   John Alvarez

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Posted April 05 2005 - 01:47 AM

Anything they show an intrest in plus like someone else said finance..How to save. My newborn will be learning Spanish from the start since her Abuela lives with us and speaks little English. Teach them to set goals and achieve them.One problem I had with my Ex is she would sign the kids up for something and let them quit weeks later. I tried to tell my kids they were letting the teams down by doing that and need to stay commited.

#11 of 50 OFFLINE   Mike Wladyka

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Posted April 05 2005 - 02:29 AM

Another one that I didn't see suggested was handiness. Let them take things apart and put them back together. Encourage them to build things, anyone remember constructs?

If you work on cars or fix things around the house let them watch or show them how to do it. It was one of the best things I learned as a kid.
Now they show you how detergents take out bloodstains, a pretty violent image there. I think if you've got a T-shirt with a bloodstain all over it, maybe laundry isn't your biggest problem. Maybe you should get rid of the body before you do the wash.

#12 of 50 OFFLINE   Seth--L

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Posted April 05 2005 - 02:45 AM

Sports, sports, sports,

And more sports. Try different things as they grow up. Don't worry, unless you push them to hard, they will tell you they don't like a certain sport. If you have the money get them involved in what ever sport fancies them at the time, it's a good thing to do.

Sports teaches a child so much more than how to kick, catch, and throw balls etc. They teach sharing, being part of team, leadership, responsibility, motor skills, and gets the kids outside. It teaches a student how to manage their time when they have to balance school with sports. And I could go on and on.


From the time I was about 7 my parents signed me up to play soccer in the fall and tennis during the summer. While they never forced me to play, they just assumed that I liked it and kept signing me up. While I liked tennis, I really didn't like soccer, despite being quite good, playing two years up, even captain of my team for many years. Like most kids before they reach high school, I didn't want to disappoint my parents so I never said anything.

I don't think I got anything out of tennis and soccer besides a regular exercise. Since everyone wants to win, people act as part of a team out of necessity. As for leadership, with almost all sports from the high school level down, coaches delegate very little power to players.

I learned "sharing, being part of team, leadership, and responsibility" through student clubs/organizations that were run primarily by students, such as working on and running my high school's newspaper, as well as being captain of my school's Science Olympiad team for three years. There, teachers complained that we the students isolated them too much. Students did everything down to managing budgets.
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#13 of 50 OFFLINE   Patrick Sun

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Posted April 05 2005 - 02:46 AM

Teach them how to wash their own clothes!
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#14 of 50 OFFLINE   Leila Dougan

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Posted April 05 2005 - 03:21 AM

Neither my husband, nor I, are into the sports thing. If our daughter wishes to participate, we will gladly sign her up, but until she asks, we won't. I would much rather she learn art, music, science, or reading.

#15 of 50 OFFLINE   LanieParker

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Posted April 05 2005 - 03:40 AM

I sign my girls up for lots of things. They've done ballet, gymnastics, Jazzercise and right now they are doing swim team. I want them to try all sorts of things and then decide which one they truly enjoy doing and wish to continue.

My youngest has decided that she loves to swim , but doesn't want to do swim team. Instead she wants to do an art class and learn to draw. So I won't be signing her up for the summer swim team. My oldest loves swim team and wants to continue it.

We are starting homeschool soon and I have already talked to them about learning to play an instrument. My oldest wants to learn guitar and my youngest wants to be like daddy and try out drums.

My oldest also wants to do soccer. I think it's great to give them the opportunities to try out a little of everything that way they can see what they really want to stick with.

My girls also want to join 4H. This is one program I am excited they both want to join.

If they don't try it they'll never know...

#16 of 50 OFFLINE   DustinLC

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Posted April 05 2005 - 04:31 AM

Quote:
Neither my husband, nor I, are into the sports thing. If our daughter wishes to participate, we will gladly sign her up, but until she asks, we won't. I would much rather she learn art, music, science, or reading.

Same here. I would encourage her in any activity that would benefit her physically but sports in school always end up being too competitive. There are always a few in school that are exceptional in sports and become the top few. If sport is too much of a focus for the child, it's impossible for them not to be suck into the whole unhealthy competition that occur these days. Competition is a good thing but sports isn't what it used to be. It's a game, game, game....

Balance in activity is the key. I think the things Leila mentioned above and what I also advocate are rare these days. I can't imagine a child more well tuned then the above. Add on to that physical activity to stay healthy and it's a perfect package.

#17 of 50 OFFLINE   Ted Lee

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Posted April 05 2005 - 04:47 AM

good list so far.

has anyone mentioned computer skills? i definitely try to teach my boys as much as i can about using a pc (including proper typing technique). i try to show them how to use all the major apps (word, explorer, etc). also i have their pc set to popup messages, etc. i always tell them to come get me when a message pops up and explain to them what it means.

------

i try to explore and find what the boys like. to date, they've tried all sorts of stuff, including most of the things already listed.

in general, some kind of sports if good. even though i'm not into sports much (besides tennis), we've had the boys try all the major ones (basketball, soccer, softball, swimming, etc). if, for no other reason, i like them to get some exercise. i would not say, at this time, that the boys are too athletically (sp?) inclined. if they take an interest, i'll encourage, etc.

diet is important to me, personally, so i try to teach them as much as i can about that. we generally only let them have an "unhealthy" dessert on the weekends. during the week it's "healthy" snacks only -- of course we stray once in a while, but they get the point.

someone mentioned a balance of activities throughout the day. i agree with that as well. i don't mind them playing x-box for an hour, as long as they're playing lego's, basketball, or even just running around the house like crazy banshees. as long as they're not glued to the tv the whole time.
 

#18 of 50 OFFLINE   John Alvarez

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Posted April 05 2005 - 04:52 AM

Teach them about the proper building of a truly amazing Home Theater...Posted Image

#19 of 50 OFFLINE   Bob Turnbull

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Posted April 05 2005 - 04:59 AM

Anything to build math & science skills

Absolutely...I'm biased because I love these subjects, but I think they help ground a sense of logical thought within a child. The concept of experimenting is perfect for young children. I made my 4 and a half year old (the "half" is very important you know) a science kit for Christmas. It contained things like a prism, funnels, magnets, food colouring, paper clips, elastics, etc. and he loves digging it out occasionally to think of uses of those things.

We're also hoping to find a good music class for him. Not really a structured learning affair like piano lessons, but something to spur on the love of music he already has (his piano noodlings are currently somewhat, uh, avant-garde). He's probably a little young yet, but we'd also love to see him take a martial arts class if he wants.

It so depends on the child. We definitely don't want to crowd his schedule with planned events and classes because we want him to just have time to be a kid. Then again, other children flourish in very structured environments.

#20 of 50 OFFLINE   Joe Szott

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Posted April 05 2005 - 05:02 AM

Swimming - It's second nature if you've been raised doing it like I was, but if it isn't learned by around 10 yrs or so you will never be fully comfortable in the water. My 3.5 yr old is very uncomfortable in the water, we've been working with him this past year and he has come a long way though.

Also, be open to what your kid wants to do. My boys love jigsaw puzzles so we put them together nightly. I would have never seen that coming as I'm not a jigsaw person myself. But believe me, your kids will tell you what they are interested in no problem.