Things I Want to Learn before I Go Out into the World

With the summer upon us, we have great opportunities to help our children become more successful individuals. The trick is finding out what they really want to know. My Journalism students made this task a little easier for those of us who have teenagers, but many of these things can be taught at any age.

Not only can we help our children with practical knowledge, but we can also keep them and teachers accountable while they are in school, learning the subjects they know are valuable. Insist that they are learning to write and write well; provide opportunities for them to read for pleasure and knowledge, so they will love reading; engage in political and historical conversations with them and research facts; make sure they understand their math and science classes and encourage them to ask for help when needed; practice foreign language drills with them; and finally, make sure they pursue a creative outlet of their choosing.

We can also open up lines of communication with our children by talking to them about their personal experiences. There are so many things children want to know but may not know how to ask: They want to know who they are and how to be faithful to themselves and to important people in their lives. Give them the courage to make hard choices and to believe in themselves.

Finally, my students shared that they are unsure of their futures. I want to assure my students that they don’t have to have it all figured out as soon as they graduate. Things will fall into place when the time is right, but there are things they can do to start moving in the right direction. Help your children discover their passions and joys. Ask them what makes them happy. If they could be anything in the world, what would they be? What are their dreams? Help your children to live their authentic lives by helping them find out who they were created to be.

I am so thankful for my students’ candid answers to this question, as well as the previous three. I hope you enjoyed reading them as much as I enjoyed compiling them.

Practical Knowledge I Want to Learn


  • How to drive (x3)
  • Mechanic stuff so I don’t get ripped off
    • How to change the oil on a car
    • How to fix a car

Home Economics

  • How to do laundry (x2)
  • How to clean up after myself really well (I hate cleaning.)
  • How to cook a decent and healthy meal (x2)
    • Use a oven, so I will not burn my house down

Money Management

  • How to file my taxes (x3)
  • How to balance a check book
  • How to make payments on large purchases (i.e. house/car)
  • How to manage my money (x7)

Health and Fitness

  • How to relieve stress in a healthy way (x3)
    • To think/ worry less about the future and past
  • How to play [a sport well]


  • Finding the perfect balance in my life
  • How I’m going to schedule working and school
  • I want to learn how to balance friends, family, a job, and for right now, school. It is tough for me to manage all of those while making the most of high school.

Educational Knowledge I Want to Learn

  • What’s going on in the political world
  • How to draw or paint
  • I want to become better at speaking another language
    • I am taking Spanish, and I love it. In the next few years, I want to make it practical by visiting a Spanish-speaking country.
    • How to speak perfect and fluent French
  • To understand math and science. There are times when I’m like what were people thinking to come up with this.
    • Physics
    • How to be better at math
    • Calculus
  • I want to learn how to write better. I can piece it all together in my head, but when it comes to putting it on paper I’m like a deer in the headlights.
    • How to be the best writer I can be
  • How to write programs on computers
  • How to study
  • How to read 500 words a minute

Personal Knowledge I Want to Learn


  • How to truly forgive
  • How to love someone
  • How to have a good relationship with my parents
  • How to keep in touch with the people who matter
  • How to distinguish between people who are worth my time from people who are not
  • How to make lifelong friends
  • How to be more open with others
  • How not to listen to what other people say about other people
  • Why are boys easier to hang out with and talk to than girls?
  • How to interact socially and not screw it up (most of the time)
  • How to communicate more and efficiently
    • How to solve problems through communication


  • How to be confident (x2)
    • I want to learn how to be more of a risk taker. I don’t like to be out there, I stick to what I am comfortable with
    • How to not always put myself down when I don’t do as good as I expected
    • To not expect something to go wrong because it is going well
    • I want to learn how not to be so scared, if I don’t know someone I will do anything to avoid them.
  • Dedication and determination
  • How to take situations seriously (x2)
  • How to be independent (x3)
    • I want to learn how to be more independent. I know what I have to do and how to do it; I just need to stop being lazy!
    • How to live on my own without panicking (ha ha)
    • How to take care of myself so I won’t become homeless…
    • How to get along by myself
  • Learn to move on
  • How to be a good man
  • I want to learn how to stay motivated when all I want to do is sleep or hang out with friends.
  • I want to continue learning how to keep my faith and my values when the world goes against everything I believe.
  • I want to learn how not to procrastinate; procrastination has affected many things in my life from school, to getting my driver’s license, and even getting things done around the house.
  • I want to take life as it comes at me. I’ll learn along the way, because that’s really what life is about, isn’t it?
  • How to stop being upset about little things
  • Find out who I am and stay true to that
  • Do what makes me happy
  • Be myself, all the time
  • Be a lot more motivated to do something with my life
  • How to manage my time (x2)

Future Knowledge I Want to Learn

  • How to make a good resume
  • How to create my own business
  • What I want to do for a living
  • Skills for job/workplace
  • As many intricacies and loopholes in the legal system as I can learn
  • How to apply for college
  • Where I want to go (x2)
  • How I am going to get there

I’d love to hear from you about ways to teach these things to our children. Feel free to add your comments below.

2 thoughts on “Things I Want to Learn before I Go Out into the World

  1. Another great entry, Pauline.

    One thing I am working on with my own children (as opposed to my students) is the idea that they are capable of controlling their own emotions, specifically, their happiness. Alice loses her temper so easily and she typically blames that on Max. “He made me mad/sad/(insert emotion here),” seems to be her new catch phrase. My dad used to tell me that other people only have control over me if I give them that control. I want to empower my children to have the strength to pull themselves out of an emotional rut. I’ll let you know in about 20 years how that worked out. 🙂

    1. Good advice! Ian is in that stage as well. We’ve had quite a few conversations this week alone about taking responsibility for his choices and not blaming others for his anger. That’s a great lesson to teach and learn!

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