life skills

72 Life Skills to Teach My Children (Before They Leave the House)

When my friend Rick’s oldest son finished sixth grade, he did some quick math and figured out he had six years (72 months) left with his son before he left their house for college. He realized the need to teach his kids basic life skills and the fact that he had limited time with his sons before they leave home. [Tweet This] So he emailed about 40 friends and asked for their ideas on topics he should cover with his son over the 72 months. Each month he covers a basic life skill or a series of conversations.

My friend Rick is a Christian so many items on the list are faith-centered and as he only has boys, most are geared towards sons. However, you can certainly adapt the list to meet the needs of any of your children. Here is my friend Rick’s 72 Launch list of life skills.

72 Launch:

  1. Passport to Purity book study
  2. How to read and apply the Bible.
  3. How to study and apply biblical parables.
  4. How to play golf.
  5. How to play tennis.
  6. Know your family history. Involve both sets of grandparents.
  7. Go on a date night with mom. She shows him the basics of treating a girl on a date.
  8. How to tie a tie and bow tie.
  9. How to keep score for a baseball game.
  10. Why and how should we save money?
  11. Why is baptism a big deal?
  12. The 5 S’s of Manhood/Womanhood – (Step up, Speak out, Stand strong, Stay humble, Serve the King)
  13. How to use power tools (examples: lawnmower, saw, drill)
  14. Gun safety, operation, and maintenance
  15. How to set and reach goals.
  16. How to be a Godly brother.
  17. Cults and false religions of the world
  18. Why and how do you write a thank you note?
  19. Importance of connection to other believers in small group and corporate church
  20. Confronting the lure of pornography
  21. How to shoot a bow and arrow.
  22. Basic home plumbing
  23. How to kayak.
  24. Basic principles of investing in financial markets
  25. White water rafting
  26. Interior home demolition/construction
  27. The importance of abiding with God daily (John 15)
  28. How to drive a car.
  29. How to shave.
  30. Importance of looking back and remembering
  31. How to develop a prayer life.
  32. How to disagree with friends, authorities, and relatives.
  33. What can I do to make this the best year of my life?
  34. What to look for at a college visitation
  35. Deep sea fishing
  36. Identifying idols
  37. What do I say to my friend who keeps on sinning?
  38. Is it ok for a teenager to date?
  39. Importance of accountability
  40. Preparing and loving on a budget
  41. How to respond to foolish person?
  42. What does a true friend look like?
  43. What does courageous leadership look like? (Look for local/current examples)
  44. How should people who love God set their priorities?
  45. How should I choose a college?
  46. 5 Movies for a man to see – (Hacksaw Ridge, Passion of Christ, Braveheart, Schindler’s List, Saving Private Ryan)
  47. Dating well as a Christian man
  48. What do in a wreck/changing tire/basic car stuff
  49. Voting. Why is voting a privilege and how do I decide who I will vote for?
  50. What does generosity with time and money look like?
  51. How do you share and talk about your faith?
  52. What does it mean to “turn the other cheek?”
  53. What does Sabbath or rest look like?
  54. How and why do we pray?
  55. What does it look like to apologize and ask for forgiveness?
  56. How to make a great steak and burger on the grill?
  57. How do I go food shopping?
  58. How to resolve conflict biblically.
  59. How to play poker/Black Jack/Texas Hold’Em.
  60. How to play chess.
  61. How to create a resume.
  62. How to interview for a job.
  63. How do I understand and use my gifts and passions?
  64. How to camp and hike.
  65. How do I know what to study in the Bible?
  66. How to take care of clothes – laundry, ironing, etc.
  67. How to paint a room.
  68. How to hang pictures on a wall and do basic house repairs.
  69. How to choose a good book to read.
  70. How to make breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
  71. How do I book travel and navigate an airport?
  72. Last but certainly not least… how to brew a good pot of coffee!
Sound Off

What’s on your list of 72 that you want to cover with your son (or daughter) before they leave your house?

Scott Kedersha

Scott Kedersha is the Director of Premarital and Newly Married Ministries at Watermark Community Church in Dallas, Texas. He’s married to Kristen, has four boys and is passionate about church, college football (Go Wake!), marriage, family, and reading.

  • Dan Coates

    I’d like to opine that while the concept here is good, the list is mediocre at best as an example. The list has very strong fundamental Christian goals and tones. While I understand and accept that this is a Christian-based organization, I think we can hold Judeo-Christian / general moral values without marginalizing other groups. Our APD team is affiliated with the public elementary school, and we are not all universally of the same faith, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation or background.

    Examples:
    17. Cults and false religions of the world – While I think there are clearly organizations that masquerade as faith, I think we need to be sensitive to what we call a “false” religion. Your false religion is someone else’s genuine faith. Even if you do believe that it’s a false religion, I’ve found that the #1 way to make them hold even harder to their belief is to tell these people that it’s a false religion or cult. As the old rhyme goes, “Those convinced against their will are of the same opinion still.”

    7. Go on a date night with mom. She shows him the basics of treating a girl on a date.
    11. Why is baptism a big deal?
    46. 5 Movies for a man to see – (Hacksaw Ridge, Passion of Christ, Braveheart, Schindler’s List, Saving Private Ryan)
    47. Dating well as a Christian man

    These items are all very Christian oriented, which is fine for the author, but I think it’s important to be inclusive in our thinking and by example as well. #7 assumes a heterosexual orientation, which may not apply in some situations. With regards to #37, we should amend that to “Dating well as a man.” Respect for others is key regardless of your background. Why should we limit it to Christians?

    Again, the idea is great and everyone should make their own list as appropriate to their family, background and values. Let’s just be sensitive to others when we express the message.

    • Jake Straub

      I think you missed the point. This is Rick’s list. Not a list for the masses. The author states this above, “you can certainly adapt the list to meet the needs of any of your children.” This list, as many other stories on this site, are to provoke discussion, thought and simple concept to be kind and a family leader. I have a girl should I protest that this list stinks for my use? No. Just modify it a bit.

      • John Saunders

        The list is close minded in a lot of the points. I love most of it but who is to say one religion is the true religion. That in itself is an opinion that I would not follow. This site can do much better but giving the practical advice and leaving religion out of it. Lots of kids grow up and realize that they don’t believe what they were raised to believe. Give our kids choices

  • d503364

    Well, now i feel like taking a nap.

  • Julie

    Two things I taught my boys that their girlfriends have thanked me for:
    How to properly clean a bathroom (yes, you have to scrub behind the toilet)
    An apology should never include the word “but”. If it does, you’re making excuses for your bad behavior.

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