Things to consider teaching your child:

December 18, 2012, 2:05 PM · As with many people in the U.S., I've been thinking over the tragic events that occurred in Connecticut last Friday, and the culture that fed into that event. Shinichi Suzuki, having lived through the violent first part of the 20th century, was driven by the idea of putting violins into children's hands instead of guns, to help them create beauty in their lives and hearts. I think it's a worthy goal. And so I came up with a list of things we can teach our children to help them find useful activity and seek beauty and wonder in the world.


Things to consider teaching your child:

Playing the violin
Stamp collecting
Bird watching
Community service
Foreign language
Pole vaulting
Irish step dancing
How to play the xylophone
Water polo
Video blogging
Reading library books
Going to musicals
Girl Scouts
Church youth group
Playing the viola
Jump rope
Making paper airplanes
Driving go-carts
Roller coaster riding
Make a gingerbread house
Building a treehouse
Making a friendship bracelet
Walking the dog
Braiding hair
Cross-country skiing
Scuba diving
Marching band
Driving a car
Making cookies
Sky diving
Rock climbing
Basket weaving
Jewelry making
Milking a cow
Cracking an egg
Volunteering at a soup kitchen
Ice skating
Playing Monopoly
Playing the cello
Making a birdhouse
Lifeguard training
Horse riding
Decorating a cake
Square dancing
Card games
Playing the bass
Magic tricks
Tap dancing
Making a cup of tea

Feel free to add to this list.


December 18, 2012 at 10:30 PM · Some of our favorites:

Leather carving

soap / wood carving

playing the recorder

model building

knot tying


Bobbin Lace

The first four my nine year old and I are supposed to work on during the holidays.

Sorry I'm trying to remember the things I used to enjoy and forgot

Cross Stitch

Crewel (Embroidery)



And since I can never decide between Celtic, polka and mariachi in addition to violin

concertina or accordion

Tuba or Euphonium (the instrument of my youth, I'll have to start looking for one).

December 19, 2012 at 01:33 AM · Making fudge & brownies!!!!

December 19, 2012 at 01:32 AM · I'll add:



how to build a birdhouse

how to sew on a button

write thank you letters


paint with watercolors

plant a garden

make bread

play the kazoo

appreciate Mel Brooks

how to shake hands

fold a shirt

write poetry

dinner conversation

ride a bike

make a salad


play chess

December 19, 2012 at 02:43 AM · Things to teach children:

- (self-)respect

- discipline

- honesty

- patience

- self-control / anger management

- how to compromise (for the common/greater good)

- consequences / causality

- finding and following superior role models

- manners / social graces

- attention to detail

- team-work

- self-reliance

- perseverance

- responsibility

- sacrifice

- deferred gratification

- forward thinking

- goal-setting and planning

- solution-finding

- critical thinking

- feedback analysis

- synthesis of information

- lateral thinking

- innovation

- initiative and drive

- asking (oneself) better questions

- learning as a life-time activity

- time management

- resource management (time, effort, energy, materials)

- maximizing opportunities and resources

- clarity, organization

- open-mindedness to differences

- compassion

- charity

- selflessness

- loyalty

- gratitude

- courage

- trust

- humility

- warmth

- tenderness

- spontaneity

- strength

- decisiveness

- integrity of convictions

- savoring the moment but planning for the future

- effort -> results -> rewards

- honest assessment

- quality more important than quantity or speed

- the urgency of important matters

- thinking big, but acting now and here, for improvement

- the importance of (self-)education, of being knowledgeable and cultured

- respect for the achievements of others (incl. those before us)

- how to pay a compliment, and receive one

- how to admit defeat gracefully

- not to give up on themselves (and others) too easily

- to respect (any!) hard work

- that good enough isn't, that effort is expected, and success and self-esteem are earned, not given

- proper use of language as an expression of superior thinking

- good hygiene

- decent penmanship

- the importance of silence, solitude, (self-)reflection

- the difference between opinion and fact, between wishful thinking and evidence

- the power of a kind word, a smile, a hug, a pat on the back

- the power of an insult, of bullying, of indifference

- to not take people, relationships, resources for granted

- the importance of being right over being popular

- the importance of privacy, dignity, identity, honor, fairness

- the importance of long-lasting positive impact and influence over the immediate, the material, the monetary

etc., etc...

No matter how, no matter where, the sooner the better,

let's teach kids CHARACTER...

December 19, 2012 at 03:02 AM · Teach them the sactity and fragility of human life.

December 19, 2012 at 03:32 AM · This is really more a list of concrete activities to teach them. Actions speak louder than words, after all.

December 19, 2012 at 03:44 AM · The list of simple joys in life is endless...

December 19, 2012 at 04:13 AM · I got it... I'm just of the opinion that we teach children, not music; skills, not songs; character, not activities...

Needless to say, please feel free to remove my list, Laurie! Thank you...

December 19, 2012 at 04:57 AM · Spend (invest) time with good friends... not bad ones.

Cook with friends

Canoo and do outside activities with friends

Do music with friends


(I mean, there is so much more than the usual movies, food and shoping. Not telling this is bad, just that human bonds existed before these activities :)

Also, it doesn't have to cost a lot of $ either...

Just about anything is so much more fun with good friends!

People are more and more isolated nowadays...

December 19, 2012 at 05:05 AM · I love the list! As a boy, drawing comics and reading Calvin and Hobbes was actually really meaningful to me. Another great activity was making home movies with friends!

December 19, 2012 at 02:27 PM · Spelunking? :) Is that the same as caving? Spelunking sounds more fun & sinister at the same time.

How about making jelly? All the kids in school & church LOVE jelly & no one's allergic to it. Perfect for parties & children with multiple allergies [or anaphylaxis like mine].

Last week upon my daughter's request, I taught her how to draft a funny-memorable, punchy and yet persuasive speech which audiences will enjoy.

Pragmatically, not for fun, wonder or beauty, but useful for university/college, & also at her request, I showed her how to make rice soup noodles (with greens) in less than 5 minutes.

My teenager who seem perpetually hungry [especially in winter] LOVE learning how to "cook quick & easy" stuff. It's very satisfying - not just for the stomach.

December 19, 2012 at 04:25 PM · for my part...A foreign language, The Westminster Shorter Catechism, The bible, Piano, Violin, the love of music, The love of serving others, The love and sacrifice of the one who was Just, dying for those of us who are un-just.

The importance of family, and the love of learning and reading.


December 19, 2012 at 03:50 PM · Andrei, I agree! We teach children, not "violin" or "teaching points" or "state standards." And when we teach children to do things, we try to instill all those ideas you mention. After all, if one teaches violin or tennis or anything with abuse, condescension and rigidity, then one fails with the larger lessons you mention.

December 19, 2012 at 08:33 PM · Don't forget PLAY VIOLA!!!

December 19, 2012 at 09:28 PM · teach them how to:

Tune their violin

Clean their violin

Change a string

Straighten the bridge

Thank their violin professor

Rosin their bow

It is through the appreciation of these very small tasks that are tedious / repetitive that they will approach a zen-like humility.

December 21, 2012 at 03:36 PM · I once went on a Listening Skills course for a couple of months which totally converted me to listening as a focussed, deliberate activity and a concrete skill, so yes listening is a very healthy activity, well worth learning still, sharing and considering, to teach our children. Not just having to role model it which is the hardest bit.

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