Important Skills and Knowledge



            There is a plethora of skills, and morsels of information, that would be helpful to daily living, that are not automatically required in the course of regular schooling.  Some of these skills can have a profound impact on your life; others are just very helpful and convenient.  Many of these skills can be acquired in school, but because they are not required, you will need to make a specific effort to get the training.  If your school does not teach these skills, acquire them in the private sector.


Advice On Important Skills and Knowledge

1.            As early as possible in your education, learn how to touch type on a computer keyboard.  This is often referred to as the QWERTY system.  You should be able to effortlessly type 30 words per minute with few errors.  True touch-typing requires that you can type without ever looking at the keyboard.

2.            As early as possible in your education, learn all of the basic functions and tools in a word processing program.  Currently WORD and WORDPERFECT are two excellent and widely used programs.

3.            Learn how to take a photograph with your phone if it has that function.

4.            By 10 years old, a child should have learned how to use the internet to send and receive emails, including how to send documents as attachments, how to scan documents, and how to download and store documents.

5.            Learn how to do some basic cooking.  You should know enough about cooking to prepare several breakfast dishes (including eggs), several lunch dishes, and at least three different dinner dishes.  You should learn how to use a stovetop, a microwave, and an oven for basic dishes. 

6.            Take a course in public speaking.  Additionally, join the speech and debate club of your high school or junior high school and regularly participate in their activities.  No matter how afraid you are of public speaking, and many do have this fear, take every opportunity early in your life to speak in public to an audience. 

7.            Learn a technique for remembering peoples names when introduced.  Practice that technique and adopt the practice of regularly addressing people by name.

8.            Study a map of your city of your residence and learn the basic geography of city by heart.

9.            Learn how to listen to people, very carefully, without interrupting or guessing what they are going to say next.  This doesn’t mean you need to agree.  But it is crucial that you fully understand what is being said to you.  Don’t respond to a lengthy comment by another about something important without confirming with them that you do correctly understand their view. 

10.            By age 21 take a formal CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) certification class. Also, learn how to do the Heimlich maneuver.

11.            Take a course in self-defense.  This is especially important for women.  Make sure the course is a practical course that prepares you for being assaulted, rather than training in a formal martial art.  (Note: Judo is not useful for these purposes.)  Courses in Karate and Jiu-jitsu are useful.  A superficial course won’t do; at least three months, twice per week.

12.            By the age of 8 years, you should have learned to swim the length of a 35 foot pool twice without assistants or floats.  By age 16, you should be able to comfortably swim 200 yards without assistance.  Parents, it is your responsibility to insure this is done.

13.            By 6 years old, a parent should have trained their child when and how to call the emergency 911 number in your city.

14.            Regardless of whether you have a car, by age 18 you should know how to drive a car.  You should also know, by heart, the basics of the subway and/or bus routes in your city.

15.            If you do not speak the languarge spoken by the majority of people living in your city of residence, learn and master that language.  If, alternatively, you do speak the majority language, but another language is spoken by a significant minority, then get basic skills in the minority language.