Obviously, a lot of what you learn in school isn’t used in the ‘real’ world, but it still gives you a foundation of knowledge, skills, and habits to get out there and start living. The problem is that school doesn’t focus on life lessons as much as it should. I think educators assume kids get valuable lessons from their parents, but I think some kids don’t have great role models and almost all kids don’t take their parent’s advice seriously, so the added advice from educators would help kids to realize that this stuff is important! If I were writing up the curriculum, all schools would have a whole bunch of classes focused on things I’ve learned in life after school.
1. Real-Life Social Skills
I wish that there had been a complete program devoted to social skills. As an adult, I think good social skills has topped my list of valuable traits in a human being.
- How to communicate with other people effectively, such as your boss, parents, children, friends, strangers, enemies, etc.
- How to not embarrass yourself on a date.
- How to interact with a potential client or boss in a way that impresses them.
- How to use body language in a way that makes other people trust and respect you.
- How to handle yourself in a situation that is stressful.
- How to react to angry, jealous, or bitter people.
I don’t just wish that they had taught me this in school, I wish that they had taught other people this stuff in school too! I have a decent handle on social skills (although, education around it would have been great when I was younger), but some people have NO social skills and lack complete awareness around how their actions, behaviors, and words impact other people around them. Some education would go a long way for some of those people.
2. Money Management For Life
A class where all topics around money management were discussed would have been invaluable.
Topics such as…
- Why you may or may not want to get a mortgage.
- Why saving money is a good thing.
- Why different avenues of income can be important.
- How to experience financial freedom in as short of time as possible.
- Why money is a good thing and not evil.
- How to use your money to make a better life for yourself and others.
All would have all been very valuable to learn at a younger age!
If I had more knowledge around money when I was younger, I would have done things differently. I wouldn’t have lived so in the moment (the mentality of ‘who cares, we have forever to live!’) and I would have invested and saved.
In other words, I would be rolling in money right now.
3. How To Make The Most Out Of Life
What if there was a class to teach kids how to make the most out of their life so they don’t grow old and feel like they wasted decades? That would have been a useful class to attend.
I would have benefited from learning things like:
- Being present is important.
- Appreciating what you have is important.
- Appreciating the people in your life and enjoying your time with them before they die (and they often do die before you learn this lesson!) is extremely important!
- Enjoying the little moments makes life more pleasurable.
- Feeling grateful makes life worth living.
- It’s important to find hobbies you like so you feel like you are creating and doing.
- How laughing is much more rewarding than screaming or yelling.
I could go on and on with this one. I think this stuff would have been really great to learn starting from a young age in school.
4. Dealing With Romantic Relationships
Most kids are dating by about 14 or 15, and I think a course teaching kids how to be respectful, kind, and supportive in relationships would be a huge benefit to them. I know I wish I would have learned about relationships and how to make them work when I was younger.
That’s not to say that I wouldn’t have made a lot of decisions based off my heart – or that other place – but I feel like I would have taken more consideration into my choices in relationships if I had learned things like:
- What love doesn’t look like.
- How to tell if you are being used.
- Why you shouldn’t stay in a relationship that doesn’t make you happy.
- Why taking it slow can help you determine whether or not he or she is right for you.
- Why you should treat your partner with respect and kindness.
Those basic lessons would have been in the back of mind and I’m sure I would have made some better choices along the way.
5. How To Continuously Grow As A Person
I spent my twenties having fun. I’ve spent my thirties worrying a lot. I plan to make my forties a time of growth, success, and happiness. I just wish I would have done that in my twenties!
I know there are some twenty-year-olds out there doing great things. For example, my husband works with a 21-year-old who is already making more than most people out there because she is focused on growth, success, and doing great things in her life.
I didn’t have that mentality when I was in my twenties. I was worried about boys, partying, and doing fun things 24/7. In other words, I didn’t grow that much in terms of knowing who I am, what I want, and what I’m capable of.
I wish there had been a class that taught me how important it was to challenge myself and get outside of my comfort zone.
I wish there had been a class that taught me to look inward and be honest with myself about who I was and who I wanted to be.
If there had been a class like that, I wonder how different my life would have been.
6. What Really Makes A Person Awesome
As a kid, I thought smoking made me look cool. I thought being aloof and uninterested made me look cool. I thought certain clothes and hairstyles made me someone worth hanging around with.
I was wrong.
All those things didn’t make me cool. They were things I did to get attention and be liked by certain people, but they didn’t make me a good human being who contributed to this world and made other people happy. They didn’t help me build long-lasting relationships.
I wish I had been taught that traits like kindness, trust, self-confidence, self-awareness, humility, humor, and honesty were what really makes you an awesome human being.
I wish that I had learned that it really is what’s on the inside that counts because the outside is constantly changing and will never define who you are as a person or your role in this world.
7. The Value Of Strong Relationships
I’m lucky enough to still be friends with someone from elementary, and I really started to appreciate that friendship a few years ago when really tough struggles, such as illness, death, and financial issues came into our lives.
Strong relationships are what keep you going during tough times. They help you navigate the rough patches in life and come out stronger and happier.
I wish I had learned to value and hold on to strong friends and family relationships.
I also wish I had learned that it was quality over quantity when it came to relationships. That way I wouldn’t have wasted my time with a lot of friendships that were obviously superficial and dragging me down.
8. Why Other People’s Opinions Are Sometimes Not Important And Sometimes Important
When I was young, every judgment I received was a direct blow to my self-worth. I wish I would have learned that most opinions are based on limited information about you and different beliefs than yours. Knowing that would have helped me see that other people aren’t telling me how I am, they are telling me how they think I am and how I should be. That would have allowed me to be more open to allowing myself to be myself despite what others think.
I also think learning that sometimes other people’s opinions can help you would have been valuable. Knowing that sometimes people see things you can’t see is one of the great lessons of life. Being humble enough to recognize when someone is right about you – even if you don’t like it – is a great way to grow as a person.
9. A Curiosity Class
The habit of curiosity is a good habit to have. Being curious about things is what helps you learn and grow as a person. But, many of us are not in the habit of being curious.
I wish I would have been taught how valuable curiosity is. If I would have had a class where I was forced to dig into things that intrigued me, I think a habit of curiosity would have developed at a young age, and I would have known so much more than I did in my twenties.
The class could include topics about how:
- Education should continue for your entire life.
- How stereotypes are broken with a curious mind.
- How personal growth happens when you are constantly asking questions.
- How much more you will like people when you have an open mind and question instead of affirming your beliefs.
10. The Importance Of Faith
I wasn’t a religious kid, despite the fact that my best friend was and I went to church and church functions with her on occassion. I never developed a sense of faith when I was young – not in anything, really.
Now, I think having faith plays a huge role in life’s happiness. I’m not just talking about religious faith. I’m talking about faith in one’s own abilities or that things are going to work out.
Whether you believe that things are going to work out because of a higher power, karma, a god, or something else, that faith is what keeps you going in times of struggle and helps you get out of bed when life is at its lowest.
In short, when you have faith, life feels much less stressful and much more exciting.
So, lastly, I wish I had been taught the value of faith in school and found something to be faithful in. I think that faith would have helped me in many different situations and gave me the strength to pick the right choice when it was the scarier option.