What I want my kids to know before they leave home

While my oldest child is *only* 10, I have heard enough seasoned parents say, “They grow up quick,” to know that my 10 year old will be 20 before I know it.  I can also look back at the last decade and let out a long whhheeeeewwwwww as I think about how fast these last 10 years have passed.  Then I consider how quickly my days and years at home seemed to be in hindsight.  It feels like only yesterday that I was saying goodbye to my parents on the UPenn campus after moving into my dorm room.  And a short blink after that I was sitting on a flight to take me from the east coast, where I grew up, to San Jose, CA for my first post-college job.  In a weeks span of time I needed to find an apartment, buy a car, and figure out how to operate in the “real world,” like an adult.

My folks placed a heavy emphasis on academics.  That, combined with athletics, earned me a place at the University of Pennsylvania.  I knew how to learn and I knew how to kick a soccer ball pretty well.  What I didn’t know, however, was how to cook, clean, make a budget, keep a budget, balance a checkbook, buy a car, maintain a car, among other things.  I was well prepared for my college days but poorly prepared for life after that.

I now have four children of my own and often ponder their future.  I am endlessly planning out their high school years (my oldest is only 10, remember…just a bit of a planner here).  I want to ensure they have the best possible academic education, but not at the expense of a practical education, and above all, a rock solid spiritual education.

If my kids are brilliant intellectually, but have no idea how to function in life, I haven’t done them any favors.

And if they are both street smart AND book smart, but are a mess morally then while I may have established them well for this life, I have failed to prepare them for the life that comes after death.

So how can I train and prepare my kids for adulthood?  Not just the next step in life; preparing my 10 year old for middle school and my 4 year old for kindergarten, but prepare all of them for the inevitable step into adulthood.  And how can I do that prior to their age indicating they have obtained a certain level in life?  My 10 year old will eventually be a 20-year old, but simply passing years on this earth does not come with it greater knowledge.  Just as I must facilitate learning in the areas of math, science and writing, so too must I, as mom, facilitate learning in the various aspects of life that are sure to come.

So what is it that I want my children to know and be able to do before they leave home?  And how can I begin that process of learning TODAY, at whatever age.

That, my friends, is what I will begin to answer…stay tuned.