Things I Taught My Children

Things I Taught My Children

Below is a post I shared the first summer I started blogging on One Generation to Another. As it happens I just stumbled upon the steno pad I referred to in this post. It seems fitting that since it resurfaced, I should share this particular post. There were many things I left off the list, like learning to knit, sew and work with wood, which all of my children learned. And of course, today my list would be more inclusive… there are new circumstances that children must deal with… but all in all, kids are kids, and words of wisdom like, "Don’t stick anything up your nose!" are as true today as ever! I invite you to share your own bits of wisdom following my list!

In my on going, and usually monumentally unsuccessful, attempt at getting organize, I was sorting through an archaic stack when I came upon an old steno notebook that I had been writing in back when my children were in elementary school. I remember at the time I had decided to jot down the wit and wisdom I had taught my children. These weren’t rules written on a board somewhere, but the casual lessons taught on an on going basis. Some might seem self evident…but one thing I learned very early on in parenting was…ASSUME NOTHING! The following is a list that I threw together that evening. Now, I find the list to be both amusing and nostalgic. Although not exhaustive, and there were certainly more things added to the list as the children got older, these got them through the first decade of their life! These were written in no particular order…just as they popped into my head!

1. Spend some part of every day outside.

2. Don’t watch television on school days.

3. Do your homework before you go to bed.

4. Don’t swear.

5. Don’t tell dirty jokes.

6. Keep change in your pockets at Christmas to throw in the Salvation Army Buckets.

7. Make a point of reading biographies.

8. Never share an important secret with someone who says, “You can trust me.”

9. Smile a lot!

10. Ask the new kid at school to eat lunch with you and your friends.

11. Don’t tattle.

12. Wear a helmet when you bike on the road.

13. Don’t be a show off.

14. Call your grandmother, often.

15. Use most of your allowance to buy things for other people.

16. Learn to type.

17. Never be the first in your bus line.

18. Cry if it hurts.

19. Never talk badly about anyone.

20. Never buy your teachers perfume or a coffee mug.

21. Have your teacher over for lunch or dinner at least once during the school year. (After I started teaching, I revised this to NEVER invite your teacher over for lunch or dinner. If you really like them give them a gift certificate to a favorite restaurant so they can have a leisurely dinner themselves.)

22. Never talk to strangers.

23. Never go near parked cars.

24. Be alone in your room, not on the street.

25. Stop, look and listen before you cross the street.

26. Never flush anything except toilet paper and your body’s waste.

27. Go for comfort over style.

28. Keep your ears clean.

29. Never let a romantic interest come between friends.

30. Don’t lie.

31. It’s okay to color outside the lines.

32. Learn to shoot marbles, jump rope and play hopscotch.

33. Learn to play an instrument, well.

34. Learn to appreciate your parent’s music.

35. If your neighbors can hear your music when the doors and windows are shut, it’s too loud!

36. Assume nothing.

37. Don’t be quick to judge.

38. Hear people out.

39. Unzip your pants before you try to put them on.

40. Leave the toilet seat down.

41. Don’t be sarcastic.

42. Never use the expression, “But everyone else is”, in an argument with your parents.

43. Believe in Santa Claus.

44. Only ask Santa for 1 gift.

45. Get a pen pal.

46. Pray.

47. Get a magazine subscription, and then read it cover to cover.

48. Learn to bake something that doesn’t come out of a box.

49. Read The Giving Tree.

50. Don’t pick your nose in public.

51. Every once in a while, tell your siblings you love them.

52. Don’t start smoking.

53. Ask your parents and grandparents to tell you stories about their childhood.

54. Never stick anything metal in a toaster.

55. After a shower or bath, dry off with a towel before putting on your clothes.

56. Cover your mouth when you sneeze.

57. Wash your hands after going to the bathroom.

58. Flush

59. Share your lunch with someone who forgot theirs.

60. Feed your pets.

61. Don’t put dirty socks and underwear on a clean body.

62. Change your socks and underwear daily.

63. Don’t watch anything on television or at the movies you would feel embarrassed watching with God.

64. Don’t abuse your phone privileges.

65. Never make your parents breakfast in bed. (Disastrous memories surface!)

66. Occasionally, clean something without being told to.

67. Don’t forget your prayers.

68. Never take drugs.

69. Never Take Drugs.


71. Memorize your locker combination.

72. Don’t throw ice balls.

73. Never cancel plans to wait for a phone call.

74. Don’t change your plans with someone because something better came up.

75. Be courteous to adults.

76. Get to know your friends’ parents.

77. Don’t be rude.

78. Be curious. Question everything.

79. Always accept sincere apologies.

80. Don’t wear socks with holes in them.

81. Mend holes in socks.

82. Find something good in everyone.

83. There are many things in this world worth fighting for. Choose your battles wisely.

84. Remind your parents to recycle. It’s your future they’re protecting.

85. Recycle and reuse.

86. Don’t be wasteful.

87. Set good examples for your parents.

88. Learn to dance.

89. Learn the difference between “I need” and “I want”.

90. Learn to control your wants.

91. Don’t ask your parents to buy you something you wouldn’t be willing to spend your own money on.

92. Read something out loud daily.

93. Never take food for granted.

94. Never take your home for granted.

95. Never take your education for granted.

96. Never take your parents for granted.

97. Never take your country for granted.

98. Always sing the National Anthem even if you can’t hit the high notes.

99. Stand at attention and cover your heart for the Pledge Allegiance.

100. Have fun!

101. Memorize poems you love.

102. Keep hope in your heart.

103. Dare to dream for more than you thing possible, then make it happen.

104. Never run with scissors.

105. Don’t put your tongue on cold metal.

106. No matter how bad your day was, home will make it better.

107. Lie on your back, look up at the stars, and feel the earth turn.

108. Brush your teeth twice a day or three times a day if you ate something disgusting.

109. Use toothpaste on your toothbrush.

110. Brush for at least 2 minutes.

111. Acknowledge who you are when you make phone calls. Don’t assume everyone knows your voice.

112. If you take a message, give a message.

113. Never ease drop on another phone.

114. Return library books on time.

115. Return things you borrow in the same condition or better.

116. Only loan things that you’re willing to never see again.

117. Never use rubber cement to glue anything to your body. (A lesson my youngest and I learned the hard way.)

118. Have friends of the opposite sex.

119. Tell your parents everything another adult tells you not to tell your parents.

120. Make your bed daily.

121. Turn your socks right side out before throwing them into the laundry.

122. When given the chance, sleep in.

123. Every once in a while, get up before everyone else and enjoy the quiet of the morning.

124. Take some time everyday to be alone with your thoughts.

125. Never call 900 numbers.

126. You don’t have to like all foods, but be adventurous enough to try everything at least once.

127. Ask for help when you need it.

128. Don’t ask for help if you can do it yourself.

129. Offer to help when you can.

130. Don’t write anything in a note that you’re not willing to have the whole school know about it.

131. Be generous with your hugs.

132. Stick up for those who can’t defend themselves.

133. Use public restrooms only when you absolutely have to. (Personal repulsion!)

134. Never tell someone they deserved what they got, even if they did.

135. Use eating utensils in public.

136. When in doubt, talk to your parents.

137. Find out when your teacher’s birthday is and do something nice for him or her.

138. Learn all three verses to Silent Night.

139. Don’t litter.

140. When possible, pick up litter and throw it away.

141. Take the advice of your parents over your peers.

142. Grow up but not away from your family.

143. Use deodorant if you need it.

144. Don’t squeeze pimples.

145. If you’re doing something you don’t want your parents to find out about, chances are you shouldn’t be doing it.

146. Learn to see the insides of people, not just the outsides.

147. There’s no shame in failure if you tried your best.

148. Laugh a lot!

149. Learn to be a good listener.

150. Don’t say anything about someone you wouldn’t say in front of them.

151. Never get in a car with someone who’s been drinking.

152. Apply Vaseline to your eyebrows before blowing record breaking bubbles.

153. Don’t be in a hurry to grow up.

154. When filling a bathtub, you need to account for body mass.

155. Abhor violence.

156. On very hot days, lick your ice cream cones quickly.

157. Learn the difference between sympathy and empathy.

158. Be empathetic.

159. Eventually, your mother will look under your bed.

160. Be honest.

161. Don’t cheat.

162. Learn some really funny clean jokes.

163. Throw up in toilets.

164. Hold hands in a crowd.

165. When you’re out in a crowd, always have a place to meet in case you get separated.

166. Remember where your mom parks the car at the mall.

167. Never try something if it’s prefaced with "Does this taste bad to you?"

168. When given the opportunity, run through sprinklers.



  1. LOL. What a hoot and how profound at the same time. You’ve inspired me to sit down and make up my own list. Just off the top of my head I would have to add,

    Don’t give yourself a haircut.

    Don’t leave your school lunch where the dog can get it.

    Obviously we’ve had personal experiences with both of these. Thanks for the best blog. I love you dearly!

    1. I already incorporate most of the items on your list in my parenting but have found several more I’d like to use.

      Thanks for sharing!

        1. Thank you so much. It is so nice to hear that the work we do here is appreciated. I also enjoy your blog very much 🙂 

  2. I’d add:

    Don’t pee in the swimming pool. (BIG issue in our household right now!)

    Keep a flashlight next to your bed. (You never know when you’ll need to check out something that goes bump in the night.)

    And a favorite,
    Pushing veggies around your plate is not the same as eating them.

    I’m going to sit down tonight and work on my own list. Thanks 🙂

  3. Thanks for this list. I plan to start my own now. I’ll begin my using all of yours except the ones about teachers and school since we homeschool. A few things I know I’ll be adding,

    join an organization you believe in

    wear underware when you have a dress on

    don’t eat food left on a park bench

    and jokes are only funny the first time someone hears them 🙂

  4. It must have taken you a long time to type all that. I would be here all day! First off, I have to tell you how much I enjoy your blog. I love your crafts and the bits of wisdom you share. It makes me envious of the relationship you have with your children because I don’t have that with my mother, but I’m trying to have a different life with my children. I’ve gotten a lot of inspiration from my blog “families” but I am always so drawn to you and your family. Thanks so much for sharing your talents and your soul.

    Okay, I would add

    Never put anything living in your pocket.

    Chew with your mouth closed.

    Do something creative every day.

  5. wow, kimara! this is the most inspiring blog post i’ve come across in a long time! i love it.. i will share it on my FB and blog!

  6. I love the “Unzip your pants before you try to put them on.” Too funny! I hear myself say that a lot here! Thank you for sharing this. I think we should all have a list to refer to every once in a while. It shows us that we really do have good intentions when we say the same things over again! Have a very blessed day!

  7. Fantastic list, and includes many things I would not have thought to teach my preschooler! Some of the items really made me giggle. Some I didn’t know how to do- do you darn socks? How do you darn socks? Or do you just whip stitch the holes? I appreciate the tips on interactions with teachers too. I think I might add “Learn to bake popovers from scratch.” I think I would only add that because I personally love popovers, and it would be nice to have someone make them for me. Ha! Thank you for sharing your list.

    1. Yes, I do know HOW to darn a sock. Usually a darn is used when a hole is made because the fabric has worn away, like on a heel, as opposed to simply a hole in a sock that was created by a snag or a thread letting go. The truth is, I will fix a hole on a brand new pair of socks, but if they are already showing advanced wear, I don’t. (I had a blog in One Generation to Another where I spoke of my mending basket, my poor, neglected mending basket, which I might share some day 🙂 Usually "holy" socks just get repurposed or pitched.

      The exceptions… hand knit socks. I always mend those! Darning is kind of like weave. You don’t just pull the good parts of a hole together, but rather create a dense stitching in the worn out area. There is a tool called a darning egg that is placed in the sock behind the hole, and you do a series of darning stitches over it that more or less replaces the fabric that has worn away. Again, I only do this on socks that are special. I have also been know to totally replace the sole of a hand knit pair of socks because my children loved the upper part. Perhaps on evening next winter, I’ll do a post on darning.

      And, btw, I think teaching your children to do something that you can benefit from… like yummy popovers… make perfectly good sense 🙂 I loved it when my children learned their way around the kitchen!   

  8. Very nice list!! I would add a couple of things too like
    -cut vegetables with a sharp knife in a direction away from the body

    -if you have to hide it you know it’s wrong

    -get your friends to like you for who you are and how you look normally not because of the clothes you wear or the color of your hair that may be over the top for attention

    -the internet it a great tool don’t abuse it!!

    -call Mom and Dad when you can to talk once in a while, a text or email is ok once in a while but not all the time.

    -soap is not optional

    Just a few

    1. That will be fine, Candice, and thanks 🙂

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