The youngest children have an instinct for practicing what they need to know: from turning over unaided, to eating with a spoon, to walking on two legs, to talking in full sentences. When they get a little older, though, they have a little more trouble recognizing where learning is necessary. Ask any parent who has tried to convince a three-year-old that real table manners are worth memorizing.
What’s far worse is that many children never learn—and many adults never learn to emphasize—skills that can make the difference between living effectively and merely reacting to life. By all means, encourage your children to master reading, writing, and arithmetic; athletic and art skills; computers and engineering. But even more, make a point of emphasizing that everyone should know: