Episode-1972- 20 Things Every Child Should Know How To Do By Age 14 — 24 Comments

  1. I learned to drive a tractor when i was 8 by 10 I could make it do wheelies LOL , I could drive a 3 on the Tree 67 Chevy pick up when I was 11…If you own land or are out on back roads ..Teach your kids to drive at young age, it pays off, when they get a Drivers license they understand how it works LOL A lot less wrecks and a lot less crazy situations acting like fools

  2. Best note of the show: “Final Thoughts – Don’t like my list, add, subtract, append, make your own.”

    Think for yourself and decide what’s best for your kid.


  3. The kids that can do just most of this list will be the 0.1%ers.

    I’m not a cynic, really, I’m not. With the possible exception of plant identification, all of this list should be within the learning capabilities of an 8-10 year old, much of it, even younger.

    +1 on Shannon’s comment about driving, especially sliding around in a wet field. I was driving as soon as I could reach the clutch.

    • The winter of my 15th year, we had a big snow storm. After the roads were clear Dad took me to a parking lot still covered. He said, “you will get your license next year, time to learn to deal with a skid or spin in the snow”.

      Over and over I put his old F-250 4-Speed into a skid or spin and used the power of the old 351 Cleveland to pull it out.

      Flash forward to the worst ice storm DFW has ever had I guess about 4 years back now. That training likely saved my life, my wife’s life, Josiah Wallingford’s life and his mothers life.

      We must train for the worst in all things because one day it could be a reality. Besides it was effing fun!

  4. Great list! I was thinking the other day we’ve never been good as a family with keeping bikes repaired. Just added it to our learning 🙂

    My favorite thing on your list is the ability to teach what you know to someone confidently!

    • Wow! Really? This is a thing, people that can’t swim?

      ~~~~shakes head and wants to give up~~~~

      • I went to college in SF…yeah, yeah, yeah……

        A lot of people I met there who grew up there didn’t know how to swim. I was shocked. Their excuse was that they never had access to pools and they just stayed out of the ocean when they went to the beach.

        I was in water before I could run, so the idea of not knowing how to swim is so foreign to me.

  5. Re: Economic literacy and entrepreneurial thinking

    Here in Asia, Cartoon Network hosts a series of 1-2 minute long musical cartoons for teaching kids practical financial habits (saving, dangers of credit card overuse, etc.) and some entrepreneurial topics too. Great little learning cartoons (for the most part) for the tweens and under. They don’t play these on Cartoon Network in the U.S. (probably because it gets in the way of airing commercials selling crap most kids don’t need), but they do have a website with all the videos:

    They kind of remind me of the Schoolhouse Rock cartoon reruns I saw as a kid in the 80’s. It’s great they have something like this now for financial literacy and entrepreneurship for kids. Not so great that they don’t air them in the U.S…. heaven forbid that American children actually grow up to be something other than mindless consumers and sheep.

  6. On financial literacy.

    You could set up a system of payment for the child and tax their “earnings” and use it to pay for their clothes food needs etc. Will their taxes cover those expenses? No we parents “print money” to make up the difference in their “taxes paid” kinda like our government does. Take it as far as you want to.

    • I am not sure if I like that or not.

      What is to like? It is exactly how the system works to a degree. It teaches them taxes suck! If you provide ways to create deductions in your code it teaches them to work the system.

      What is not to like? It really isn’t how the system works. Those that produce do not get services back with their dollars, they go thousands of miles away to do things the producer finds immoral.

      Given Mom and Dad are benevolent dictators it makes taxes seem like something done for your own good. But if you do what I said in part one, give them a means by which to create deductions it teaches them to work the system. So I guess it depends on how it is applied.

      • I agree completely, and that’s what I meant by “take it as far as you want.” Life is such a balancing act. Everything must be tempered with balance. Teaching kids “how it is” can lead to accepting the programming; on the other end of the spectrum teaching only “how it should be” could lead to paralyzing unmet expectations. “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good,” as you say. Funny thing about that saying, I had a good manager who was in charge of training me to do certain tasks when I first started my career. I’d ask if whatever task I did was “good enough” and his answer was always “perfect is good enough.” And I knew what he meant. Attempting perfection is the only goal you can have, and yet it must be tempered knowing that nothing is perfect. If you can do better, than do better. If you’ve done your best, then perfect is good enough.


      • I mean I know I could make it much more realistic by just taking the taxes and buying pork to stuff down my pie hole. Then when they complain I’ll give them a piece of candy and set them in front of a cartoon, and tell them it’s ok their kids will pay for the cable programming they’ll enjoy today.
        I just don’t think that’ll go over so well when I steal money out of my grandkids piggy bank, and tell my adult children it’s repayment of luxuries they enjoyed as a kid.

  7. I couldn’t agree more. I had the same experience with “men” not being able to start a fire. I was invited to a lake with several couples for a camp out. Reluctantly I participated. I showed up late to the camp site, to see 8-10 adults (40-50 years old) standing around a log trying to light it. I nearly got back into my truck and drove home. Instead, I got my axe out of my truck, split some kindling and showed these idiots how to build a fire. My kids have been able to do this since they could light a match. They have used knives, and shot a rifle since they were 7 years old. Catch fish, clean it, hunt, gut and process the animal. I find it sad there are adults that can’t do this, particularly living in Montana…………pathetic.

    • How long had those 40-50 year old individuals actually lived in Montana? I have to ask because where I grew up in eastern Montana there’s no way you would have ever had a group of 8-10 people where 8 or 9 of them didn’t know how to start a fire… else were you going to stay warm in the cool weather while you were trying to empty the keg? All kidding aside, I think a lot of this still has to do with the divide between urban and rural areas. Living in a rural area just seems to make people more self-sufficient while urban areas allow people to live their lives without skills most of us take for granted.

      • unfortunately they are native Montanan’s…. fortunately, my wifes friends of friends… not mine ?

  8. I had to learn to do all of these things growing up on my grandparents farm especially the driving when we were 10 years old I have taught my kids a lot of these things when they were growing up but now days kids just want video games which I do not like Learn as much as you can and know how to use it

  9. I have to admit, I have no idea how to use a pick. I also can’t think of a time when I’ve needed one, but I love to learn new things. So maybe I’ll learn to use a pick, might just find a nugget in there somewhere. 😉

  10. unfortunately they are native Montanan’s…. fortunately, my wifes friends of friends… not mine 🙂

  11. There are programs through some states for 4h kids- you get a 4h loan (it’s a real loan you have to be able still speak to the banker and explain what you are applying for) the loan covers the cost of a particular 4h animal, and they at the end of the project when you sell, or auction it. You pay the loan back, and made? profit to go twards the next project. The best this is a child can actually build credit with this system. The downfall is this really only works with AG kids. You can really raise a 4h hog in the suburbs.

  12. Outstanding show, Jack. And it came at a perfect time. We’ve actually been working on many of the skills you recommend, but we’d never written down an actual list. So–I think I know what we’ll be doing this summer. (we have boy/girl twins who turn 14 in July!)
    I’ve been putting off becoming a paid supporter of the show but I think now is the time to do it. Thank you so much for what you’re doing!

  13. Here are a couple of skills I’d add to your list:
    1. How to sew (buttons, hems, attach patches, simple mending). It’s a basic skill and definitely useful in emergencies big and small.
    2. How to read a map and plot a route. Too many rely on Google to tell them how to get places. Having a Thomas Guide and knowing how to use it is an invaluable skill.