February 13, 2017

Because I Want Them To Know How To...

Do you remember the days before Google, when we actually had to think about how and where to look for the information we needed? Me neither. Technology is wonderful. It actually brings the world to our fingertips. Part of me worries, however, about the things our children will never have to do and the things they will never have to learn. While I embrace all this amazing new technology, I also cling to certain parts of the past that I feel should not be lost. And that is why I want my kids to know...

How to look up names in a phone book.
Perhaps the day is near that these books will be obsolete, 
But I still think kids should know the basic skill of looking things up using alphabetical order.

Actually looking for information rather than having it magically appear increases the possibility of actual retention, don't you think?

I want them to know how to make and receive a phone call.
Maybe we won't be using phones as much as or in the same way as in the past, but I believe the basic principals of good manners should remain. Not to mention an engaging conversation is much more enjoyable than an impersonal text.
(Says the woman who dislikes speaking on the phone, but you get the idea.)

I want my children to know how to write a note and a thank you card.
With actual paper and pen.
I hope and pray this simple gesture isn't lost amid the fast paced world of texts, Facebook, and Instagram that dominates our world today.

It is so important to me that they realize how much people appreciate and enjoy an actual acknowledgement of a kind deed.
I fear in this age of instant gratification, young people lose the ability to appreciate things fully. 
The simple gesture of writing a thank you note ensures that my children appreciate the kindness of others.

And while we are at it, do they even teach this anymore?
This is a basic skill I found my children were lacking.
Maybe the day will come when all correspondence will be electronic, but until then, I want my children to know how to properly address an envelope. : )

I want my kids to know what it feels like to actually hold a book in their hands.
Ebooks are convenient, but nothing can replace the feeling of holding an actual book in your hands.
Of knowing that inside the cover, words arranged on pieces of well worn pages await you.
And an adventure is about to begin.

 I also want my children to know how to play.
Our world is filled with noise...fast paced electronic games with flashing lights and sounds.
Our children are surrounded with high tech phones, games systems, and computers. 
While all these are fun and engaging, something is missing.
The quiet thoughtfulness and pure enjoyment that sitting and playing a classic game brings to families.
I was shocked to learn a few years ago that my kids did not knowhow to play Checkers.
My friend Marian taught them to play.
And they loved it.

Alright, this may seem like a strange one.
I realized recently that my older kids did not know how to light a match.
Funny, right...coming from the woman with the obsession for Yankee candles.
Last fall I bought a few candles in a new store and they came along with a nice box of matches.
Apparently my older kids are quite adept with the Aim and Flame lighter, but had no clue how to light a match.
I think that may be an important skill.

And finally, this.
I want my children to know how to make homemade pasta sauce.
The kind that simmers on the stove all day long.
The kind my grandmother taught my father to make.
Because that is something that should never be lost.

So there you have it.
A few things I want my children to know.
A few things I hope are never totally lost.

What kinds of things would you add, my friends?
Please let me know. : )

(Pinterest for the photos.)


  1. Great post. I remember the day I realized my teens had no clue how to address and mail an envelope....crazy!!!! Getting mail from faraway friends was a highlight of my army brat childhood. I would also say many kids do not know their address as they all have cell phones to contact their parents. Another one is reading cursive. My son received a postcard and struggled to read the cursive so I read it to him. He is 15 in a month!! Schools here no longer teach it though so not shocking that kids cannot read it. Funny thing is the postcard was from his science teacher.

    Kids these days have truly missed out on a lot.

  2. These are all great things we should hope ALL children learn. It saddens me that many do not have these skills, or have never enjoyed a board/card game. I agree with the cursive writing, our schools have gone away from it as well (while it was hard for my lefties and myself, I think one should at least attempt it and learn to read it). Simple arts such as making a bed properly have go by the way side. I pray books never become obsolete. Oh, and spelling...don't get me started. Your post did teach me however that I did a pretty good job with my two as they can do all those things! LOL

  3. Good for you! Your children will definitely benefit.

  4. I have always made my kids write thank you notes. It wasn't until recently that I realized they had no idea how to address an envelope correctly. And it's totally my fault because I started doing it for them when they were little to insure they post office could read their hand writing! WHOOPS!

  5. I would add the use of a dictionary, looking up words that we do not know the meaning of. A great list that will enhance your children lives in many ways.

  6. I could just copy and paste this post in my blog. Less screens, more paper, learning manners, how to talk to adults, all of it, right down to the sauce. I love that you teach your children and inspire all of us to keep doing the same.

  7. Amen to all of the above Billie Jo! You hit it all right on the head.

    The other things I think are lost a bit today that I push with my kiddos is to put down their phones, games etc and just get outside. That they need to go explore and play out there (when weather permits up here). And also the simple act of just being BORED! Kids are so overstimulated in my opinion and involved in so many activities (which have some of their won merits) - but to just be good and bored once in a while and rest in it and daydream and figure out something different and magical to do (that doesn't involve smart phones or any electronics!). ;)

    Love it! xoxo

  8. The Card Catalogue in the library, which they do not use anymore, is my biggest issue...these young folks have no idea what that is...great post, Billie Jo. smiles

  9. I love this post and applaud you for teaching your children these valuable skills. You have featured many things that we should all learn to function well in our world. One recently came to my attention--how to write a check. I know most folks no longer use them, but use online banking instead. Time is changing many things, but kindness should never go out of style. ♥

  10. This is such a good reminder - I never even thought about teaching them to address an envelope! Our children's school doesn't even teach cursive writing any more - and research proves you right - I just read an article that kids entering college these days cannot do basic things like laundry or boiling an egg. I better get to work ;)

  11. Love this post too! So many great skills are being forgotten and I must also teach my girl these tips! Love teaching her a bit about sewing! Thanks for the reminder!

  12. I agree 100% and we practice and learn those things as well in our home. Good job!!!

  13. I love this post! And as a 2nd grade teacher, I do teach a lot of these things...we teach cursive in our tiny Catholic school...use dictionaries...and play lots of board games (especially during inside recess!). Perhaps because we are technology-handicapped, we rely on old-fashioned, tried and true teaching methodologies. Don't get me wrong....there are some amazing apps and computer programs to work on fact fluency or reading/language arts skills, but books in hand are always best. And I've taught the art of letter writing...but never how to address an envelope...HMMMM! Thanks, Billie Jo!

  14. I am ALL about the thank you cards! My kids send them and have helped as they can. Scribbles early on, to signing their names and we will keep on progressing from there. I love thank you cards. My kids do the stamps at Christmas card time, I will make sure to do the addressing an envelope too. Love all these other things too!

  15. This is a great post. I do many of these things myself, especially writing letters. I love snail mail! There's just something about opening that mail box and seeing a hand written envelope. I play board games with my granddaughter and we play outside on the jungle gym, we ride bikes, but I never thought of it as teaching her how to have fun without electronics. Those things are just natural to me which really proves just how old I am! In fact, I found an old set of jacks the other day and can't wait to show her how to play! The world is changing that's for sure.

  16. Definitely things we should all know! It is a shame that these arts are being lost isn't it. I understand why and don't criticise change at all, but it is still sad! Glad you are making sure that your children know these valuable things.

  17. So very true, and thank you for the good ideas. I never thought about teaching my children how to use the phonebook or use the encyclopedia. I do think that they should know how to do such things though. Hugs to you. Juli

  18. I love that you get it! I get it to my friend and Love it! I agree 100% I can say I've check off almost all except the homemade pasta sauce but they can whip up a spaghetti dinner with meat sauce. I've also included playing a record and handwriting -most schools don't teach anymore 😟 I hope you are having a wonderful Valentines Day!

  19. Billie Jo, love your post. You are absolutely right about teaching our children the "old" ways just in case. I had to smile at your phone manners - I remember answering the phone with " ______ residence, Gina speaking...." Happy Valentine's Day!

  20. I agree with all of these. We are working on phone skills at the moment. My daughter hates to talk on the phone. I feel it is a very important skill to master.

  21. Hmmm... I'm a bit old-fashioned, so I think my kids can do most of these things. But... you've got me thinking!
    Happy Valentines' Week.
    Laura of Harvest Lane Cottage

  22. I absolutely love this post, Billie Jo! I've so often thought these exact thoughts. So much is being pushed by the wayside these days! I recently had a conversation with John about how when I was little there was no Google. When I needed to get information I actually had to go to the library and look it up. Not only that, but pay .10 if I needed to copy a page at the copy machine. He was horrified! I must teach him more of these lessons :) xx


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Billie Jo