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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Goals for Preparing Children for Adulthood

Schools have begun, and teachers are doing their best to evaluate their students, plan their year, and get on with the task at hand. They include homeschool teachers, private tutors, and those super modern teachers who teach by Skype.

There are so many philosophies about education today. I’d like to pose some ideas for your consideration.

What are your goals for your children? Of course, every child is different, and each one may require a different approach to learning. Many children have learning issues, different learning styles, or special needs. So, you may need to pick and choose from these suggestions, based on the individual abilities of each child. (You’ll notice a lot of these educational goals aren’t “book learning.”)

Here are some goals to consider.

I want my child to: 
  1. Enjoy books and reading.—Read to your children from the time they are very small. Experts say that this is the one best thing you can do to educate your child. Read them fun stories, Bible stories, and animal stories. Tiny people enjoy cuddling on your lap and looking at the pictures in simple, age-appropriate books. Later, take turns reading with your child. You can read to your children until they’re enjoying books for themselves.
  2. Know how to do things at home.—Encourage your children to help you in the kitchen, cleaning the house, folding laundry, doing car mechanics, home repairs, etc. Take the kids grocery shopping with you and show them how you choose your food (quality and pricing). Let your children be part of your everyday life.
  3. Have good manners and pleasant social skills.—Your kids can learn to say please, thank you, yes ma’am, yes sir, to help others, and to be courteous. Teach them at home to speak in a respectful and appropriate way.
  4. Know how to express himself well verbally.—As your children get older, have them speak, even if briefly, in public. They can participate in school and church programs. They can also be encouraged to give/read oral reports. His effective speaking will help him to succeed in life.
  5. Know how to write clearly and in an organized manner.—Your child can be encouraged to write short themes. It’s great to encourage journaling and vacation travelogues, for example. After a family day, the children can be encouraged to write a paragraph about what they liked best. Let your children make up the wording themselves. This should be a non-pressure activity with no grade given. Writing should be fun! (Don’t criticize handwriting either. This is idea writing.)
  6. Swim and play sports.—I’ve heard that one of the most important preventative lifesavers is to teach a child to swim. Help him to get used to water little by little, gently, even if he’s afraid of water. It’s important for his safety. Let your child play sports. They certainly don’t need to be organized or expensive. Let him play kick ball, croquet, badminton, skating, softball, soccer (football), or basketball. Let him have fun running and jumping and climbing.
  7. Appreciate beauty and music.—From the time your child is small, let him listen to beautiful music, especially classical and hymns. They can go with you to orchestral performances from age six or so. Listening will foment a love for quality music. Help your child appreciate art. Take him to galleries of the old masters, if possible. Your major museums carry wonderful collections. Visit from time to time after age eight or nine. They will learn something about appreciation, the famous artists, and something about design. Another great idea is to take kids to places where local artists show their work. You get everything from fun art to very serious pieces.
  8. Enjoy and conserve nature.—Take your family out on nature trails. Buy or borrow from the library books about flora and fauna in your area. Work on identifying leaves, trees, fruit, flowers, insects, animals, and birds, as well as rock and land formations. Go camping away from any city. Paddle a canoe or kayak, so that you can see water creatures. Take the kids fishing. Encourage the responsible use of nature.
  9. Learn a foreign language.—Enable your children to hear and learn a different language from the time they are small. Please read my blog post about why it’s important to learn a foreign language, here
  10. Love God with all his heart and have a desire for Christian service.—A heart for ministry is caught more than taught. Have a ministry you do as a family, together. They will enjoy growing up evangelizing and serving. If you want your child to love God genuinely, you must be real. Love God with all your heart and live godly. Be in a Bible preaching and teaching church. Be in the Word yourself. When children see a living, breathing example in front of their eyes, they desire to live like your model. (When parents provide an inconsistent, critical, and hypocritical witness in front of their children, the children will have a model they don’t want to follow.) Have family devotions. They need not be long and drawn out, but they put the right values before your family. Pray together. Let the children read the Bible aloud when they are able to take part.

Ultimately, I want my child to be an independent adult.

I want him to be able to:
  • Manage money.—Manage a bank account and pay off credit cards completely each month. Establish credit. Understand how to make a budget and keep to it. Learn how to use money responsibly.
  • Make enough money to live on.—Have some skill or formal degree that will enable him to get a job that will supply his own needs and the needs of any dependents he might have.
  • Be the husband/wife/single who would glorify God with his/her lifestyle.—Teach values at home that will help your child understand how to please the Lord in each of these roles.
  • Have spiritual discernment.—This is gleaned from his own personal Bible study, the preaching he gets in church, and from years growing and learning. It is wonderful when we see young men and women who discern right from wrong and adhere to biblical values.

Stay tuned for more about preparing children for adulthood, in my next post.


  1. Lou Ann, this was a real encouragement to me this morning. All glory to God, I'm working on all ten on your first list. Some get more of a focus than other at times, but we always come back around to them. For example, Rosetta Stone (Castellano version!)hasn't gotten much attention since school started. There just isn't time for EVERYTHING. But we'll come back to it.
    Good parenting can be overwhelming and exhausting. There's SO MUCH to teach! And so little time.
    Your second list is the tougher one, and one that takes longer to see results. It's the scarier one!
    If I don't teach my son good work ethics, what will come of him once he's on his own??
    If I don't teach my daughter discernment, what will happen when a good looking jerk comes her way??
    That's where faith comes in. Diligence and faith. The rest is up to God.
    Thank you for encouraging me to keep at it, despite being weary in well doing. Hugs!

    1. Thank you, April. A LOT has to do with God's grace, help, and wisdom. Stay tuned for more in successive posts.

  2. Lou
    I followed a link from a fb page and have read your blog. While I am not, nor never will be Christian, your advice is sound, rooted in good common sense and everyone should aspire to raise and educate their children in this fashion. It would make for a much better world if this happened.

    1. Thank you for visiting, David. I appreciate your comment and pray you will change your mind about the Lord Jesus Christ.

  3. These are all great goals.

  4. Your comments are well received Lou. And i know where you are coming from re: Jesus. However I am Jewish, and well ensconced in my faith, my spirituality and my beliefs. I don't mind your prayers, but as they say "ain't gonna happen". Actually, i am instrumental in forming a new Reform Jewish Congregation here in my home town and participate quite a bit. I could reply back that I enjoy your writing and point of view despite your acceptance of Jesus but that would probably be passive aggressive. :) < sorry, not said to insult, more to just stay in character for myself and be a big mouth>. So, I shall just say, I sincerely like your point of view and your writing. Obviously no need to publish this, but of course, it is the only way to write back to you. And, keep up the good work in your blog. Very sensible ideas for Christian and non-Christian alike.

    1. Thank you, David. I am glad you are Jewish. As you know, the Jews are God's chosen people, and He has made many pacts with the Jews. I do not take your comments at all in a negative way. In fact, I believe the New Testament Jesus is your Messiah. I believe that because of the amazing link between the Old Testament Messianic prophecies and the New Testament fulfillment in Jesus Christ. Here's a link that simply shows the Hebrew Old Testament passage compared with the New Testament. Especially noteworthy are Psalm 22 when compared with Matthew 27 and John 19-20; and Isaiah 53 with the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) and Hebrews 9:28.


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