Ask the grumpies: Bucket list for the kids

First Gen American asks:

What is on your must have bucket list for your kids to do/experience before they are grown?

See the Redwood Forests!!!!  Also I think Yosemite.

Learn to swim.  Learn to play an instrument.  Learn to read (for DC2).  Calculus.  They have already watched The Princess Bride, so we’re good there.

Everything else we’ll play by ear.

Grumpy nation, did your parents have a bucket list for you?  Grumpy parents, do you have bucket lists for your kids? 

32 Responses to “Ask the grumpies: Bucket list for the kids”

  1. Leah Says:

    Visit all 50 states! We’ve been collecting stuff from each to put in a scrapbook for our little one. She’s been to 10 so far. In the book, we’ll have a postcard from each state, some pictures, and a description of when and why we visited that state. It’s a fun quest for us too.

    We also want her to learn to swim (started already), learn an instrument, learn another language, etc — common parent things.

    Mostly, I just want her to explore and enjoy the world.

  2. Engineer Cents (@engineercents) Says:

    I’ve already started compiling my future kids’ reading list. Like it’s actually a wishlist to which I bookmark items on Amazon.

  3. Ana Says:

    Not really….I kind of want to see where their own interests end up taking us all…

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Not even swimming? That could save a life.

      • notofgeneralinterest2 Says:

        My kids learned to swim, love books, etc., and a lot of other awesome stuff, but never because I had “bucket list” for them. We did good things, and they did good things, and there you are. But they got to decide and are now independent and the better for it. I am prejudiced against the term “bucket list,” though, so that may be coloring my answer.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        The thing about bucket lists though, is that you don’t actually have to do what is on them. (Though, swimming really is non-negotiable.)

  4. bogart Says:

    Hmmm. I’m not a huge follower (or user) of bucket lists so while I understand the basic concept I’m not sure — are they supposed to be things “for fun,” or things “everyone must do,” or … ? Thinking of things it’s important (but not obvious/expected) that all developmentally-typical children do in childhood and that are (hopefully) fun/useful, I’d include learn to swim, learn to ride a reasonably trained horse at a walk-trot-canter comfortably in a quiet setting, learn to operate a canoe or kayak and a small sailboat, ride a bike, drive a car, cook a few meals, budget (save) for something one wants but cannot readily afford (and then purchase it!). Expanding to useful but not necessarily fun I’d add change a flat, sew on a button/fix a seam, write civilized messages to others (e.g. interesting postcards/letters/emails to family, thank-you notes).

    I might throw in learn a second language, visit a foreign country, body surf (by implication — see an ocean!), take a bus, call a cab, tent-camp for at least a long weekend, spend a few nights totally alone — no other human in the house (pets are fine), travel somewhere without supervision (kid companions OK, adults not).

    I once traveled to a relatively undeveloped part of the world (rural recently former Soviet bloc) as part of a small loosely organized tour; our guides led visits for church groups or horse groups — I was part of one of the latter. They said that they much preferred the horse people because (a) we are used to substandard bathroom facilities; (b) we can sleep anywhere; and (c) we understand that our comfort is not the most important thing. I’ve figured I could do worse than to teach my son those 3 things.

  5. Sandyl FirstgenAmerican Says:

    I guess much of my list includes things that would be useful during a zombie apocalypse. Here are some of my things:

    Learn how to make a fire, camp, forage for food in the woods, grow stuff, identify plants and trees. Swim, Rock climb, know how to tie knots, fish, know how to split a log…know which way to hike if you are lost in the woods. Know what to do in case of a flash flood…know how to build a snow cave, etc.

    Also, my Irish Husband wants my kids to Be able to eat a variety of foods. (I eat anything and I can travel anywhere and be fine). His first trip out of the country was in India and all he ate for a month was Mangos and Nan because all he ever ate growing up was bland Irish food and everything was too spicy for him. He is fine now and our kids are not spice babies either.

    Music has been a bust so far. Neither kid is interested and it is torture some of the time to be in music class. I haven’t pushed it.

    Sports…play ball sports…any ball sport to learn coordination…but not in a way where life is all consumed by organized sports. Save time for spontaneous sports like hiking, skiing, swimming, camping, bike riding.

    Learn to code.

    Learn how to use tools. Build stuff.

    Learn basic household chores. How to do laundry, how to cook a meal, how to make a bed, mow a lawn.

    Have manners.

    Learn new stuff every year..it doesn’t matter if it’s juggling or magic tricks or mushroom hunting…just as long as it’s new.

    Learn enough about pop culture to help with social skills. (this is one of mine). My husband used to do “movie appreciation night” with me as I never saw Jaws or Planet of the Apes or many classic films as I didn’t have exposure to them as a kid. I would stare blankly when people would quote movie lines. Lots of stuff went way over my head. My son identified the Beastie Boys playing at the barber last night and it was a good moment. Like John Cusack said in High Fidelity. The way an average guy like him was able to date hot chicks was by his knowledge and use of pop culture in small talking.

    • Sandyl FirstgenAmerican Says:

      And I guess the zombie apocalypse skills fall into one of those categories of “important value for us…completely unimportant for others” type of thing. We value self reliance, but it’s not a trait that is required to be successful in this world….just something we think is worth passing on.

      Other people value their religious beliefs and think it is important to pass on. We were scarred for life by them, Not everything makes the cut from one generation to the next.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        We suspect there’s a badge that everyone who was Brought Up Catholic holds, especially those of us who have left the Church. Baptism hasn’t made my kids’ bucket lists (though yes, I do occasionally Feel Guilty about that).

  6. a. Says:

    My fephew (fake nephew) is 5 and his mom and I can’t wait until he is old enough to be into Harry Potter because we want to take him to the Harry Potter theme park in Florida. One thing that I unintentionally introduced him to is drinking tea. I love my PG Tips and when I would be drinking my tea, he always wanted to have some. His mom bought him apple cinnamon herbal tea and we enjoy having tea together.

    • Steph Says:

      I love that you share tea time with him. Tea is something I love and enjoy, and when I think about the possibility of kids in the future, I’ve dreamed of sharing similar tea moments with them.

  7. chacha1 Says:

    I think my parents had very high expectations that were very non-specific. I don’t know that they thought in terms of “what are things we absolutely must do with/for our kids.” LOL In their minds, I’m pretty sure the answer would be “we absolutely must turn loose two competent young adults who are able to converse intelligently, function in society, and hold down a job.” They certainly weren’t thinking “they must see the Grand Canyon.” They were thinking “they must go to college.”

  8. xykademiqz Says:

    We’ve done the redwoods; swimming, reading, and instrument with all but the little guy (who will read soon and also presumably swim). Calculus in due time (Eldest next year).
    There are plenty of things that people can and will learn to do when they are older (cook, sew etc.), no need to insist if the kid isn’t into it. I never lived in a house before we bought the one we are in now and never mowed anything, but now I do; I didn’t cook until in my early 20’s, but now I am pretty good. So I don’t think the kids have to be taught everything when little, there is learning after childhood. [Btw, my attitude towards the great outdoors can be summed up by the quote from October Road: “One thing that no one tells you about camping is that you don’t actually have to do it.” I would be one of the first victims during the zombie apocalypse.]

    I personally would like for my kids to not be as neurotic and insecure as me (to be precise, I want them to NOT be neurotic or insecure). If I achieve that, I will declare victory. Constantly doubting myself and my abilities and my worth of doing stuff/being places is a HUGE waste of energy and I have no idea why I am how I am, but I am (personality/upbringing/patriarchy). I want them to think of themselves as inherently capable and worthy of having good stuff come their way (which I know will be helped by the fact they are white boys), as opposed to always waiting for the other shoe to drop (that would be me).

    Semi-related, and I promise I am not trying to be an a$$hole here, just seriously asking. Can someone explain to me the cult standing of Princess Bride? I saw it, but is there something I am missing about it? I ask because there are many people who bring it up as something that must be viewed. I bought a DVD some years back, it was super cheap, and two dudes in line behind me commented on it as put it on the belt, essentially fawning over how awesome it was. So I made sure we watched it ASAP. The movie is cute and funny, but to me, it’s in the same ballpark as “Robin Hood: Men in Tights” or even “Spaceballs” (which would be my fave). Am I missing something about it, or is it a generational thing/source of much pop culture trivia (Inigo Montoya etc)?

    • chacha1 Says:

      “Princess Bride:” I think it’s a personal taste thing. I love it (and “Robin Hood Men in Tights”) and I hated Spaceballs.

      Re camping: I’m with you!! But I love being outdoors. I just don’t want to sleep there.

      • Sandyl FirstgenAmerican Says:

        Princess Bride. It’s got lots of quotable lines.

        Hmmm….I was also extremely insecure and I always thought it was because I never learned how to do all those things you are describing as learning during adulthood. I was very sheltered and did no sports, had no exposure to pop culture, no idea about social etiquette, and I didn’t know how to do many basic things. My theory is that if I can teach my kids to do a lot of different stuff, the self confidence will come as a side effect. This knowledge that you can achieve anything if you put your mind to it isn’t necessarily intuitive and it was missing from my life as a child..Only much much later as an adult, did I learn a bunch ofl these life skills and realize I did have a lot of potential and the insecurity thing was silly. So, that’s the theory on the origin of my insecurity…well, that and my overly critical mom.

      • xykademiqz Says:

        @Sandy: I think it’s the sheltered bit. Both my parents worked and my grandparents (mostly grandma) took care of me when I was little, so I had very little socialization with other kids before starting school. And I also started school a year early (in my home country there is no kindergarten, 1st grade starts at age 7, I started it after barely having turned 6), so I was not only socially clueless but also younger and less mature than everyone else. While I was always a straight-A student, I think my insecurities probably stem more from the rude awakening upon being thrust among kids for the first time after having only interacted with adults (and consequently always remaining somewhat clueless and awkward interacting with people, at least in my own eyes) than they do with not having any particular skill… My kids have all been going to daycare from an early age and they are all well socialized; they seem quite comfortable with themselves, much more so than I remember being as a kid.

      • Sandyl FirstgenAmerican Says:

        @xyk…Yup. My daycare lady was at least 80…and when my dad was watching me, he would take me to the bar with him while he drank. I also started school at 5 and didn’t know English and had 0, literally 0 interaction with other kids before starting school.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Robin Hood Men in Tights is also good.

      Not a big spaceballs fan here, but most people who are cult about spaceballs feel the same way about Princess Bride. It is a very good movie. Delightful and funny with a nice ending.

      • xykademiqz Says:

        I think it may be when you saw the movie. I saw space balls as a teen in a theater. I think I caught Robin Hood men in tights at some point while I was still young on the TV. I only saw princess bride a couple if years ago and with heightened expectations that probably didn’t do well with my advanced curmudgeoneity. (Sort for lack of capitalization etc, this is on my phone.)

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        I dunno, I’ve seen Princess Bride probably about 20 times and it still holds up. Most people we’ve forced to see it at older ages think it’s great too. (Which is definitely not the case for all movies we’ve forced people to see.) It’s just a good movie– not too long, great acting, funny lines, happy ending, nice soundtrack etc. (The book is better though, even though the ending is very different.)

        There’s other really great movies but not as appropriate for children, which is why they wouldn’t be on a children bucket list. (Though DH has had various star wars and star treks on his bucket list for the kids. Star wars took a few tries with years between.)

      • xykademiqz Says:

        I dunno, I’ve seen Princess Bride probably about 20 times and it still holds up.

        I feel the same way about “Spaceballs.” My Eldest son loves it too so I re-watch it with him. My DH hates it.

        I like Princess Bride, don’t get me wrong, but I can’t say I love it. It’s alright.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        You probably just have a different sense of humor. Spaceballs is just a different kind of humor. More Mel Brooksy. There’s no hidden dirty jokes in Princess Bride, no double entendre. It’s very much ok for kids (who are ok with bad guys and death and stuff).

  9. MSWR Says:

    My dad generally let me lead the way on what interests I pursued as a kid, but he did insist that I learn how to swim and how to drive a manual transmission. I want my kids to learn how to swim, too, and I’d love it if they get into music and/or dance somehow. The hubs and I both play instruments, so I think it would be fun for us to do with our kids and help them learn. I would also like to travel with them to the motherland (Thailand), but that seems more hypothetical than the others (kids are still toddlers, and the hubs isn’t a huge fan of traveling). I’m mostly just excited to see where their interests take them, and, as a result, our family.

  10. Becca Says:

    Redwoods is on my bucket list! As is Powells. And Paris.

    Kiddo already knows how to swim acceptably, as it’s a parental religious duty.
    I want him to be a better kayaker because I am *not* towing him much longer.

    I would like to go to Korea as a family. I wouldn’t mind Hersheypark and the Great Smokies as well.

    I want to learn some skill with my kid. Maybe guitar. He can pick though, as long as it’s something I can’t do and am interested in.

    Kidlet wants to learn division in math and Tae Kwon Do. The former I’m excited about, the later I am inclined to wait until he is more mature (I was quite good, kidlets kick is insane. 6 is too young to be a trained deadly weapon).

    • Becca Says:

      Oh! And the Most Important! I want him to learn Spanish so we can go to Argentina and see Messi play for his national team!

  11. Debbie M Says:

    Once my mom told us three goals she had for us, though they are not of the bucket list type. I now remember only two of them, but I do remember that though the three of us are quite different, she succeeded with all three goals with all three of us.

    1) She wanted us to not be racist.

    2) She wanted us to not throw screaming, demading fits in the checkout lines at stores.

    3) [Wish I remembered.]

    Of course there were a lot of other things she wished she’d focused on as well that she didn’t think up in time!

    Oh, and my dad made sure that wherever we moved there was a swimming pool available to us.

    They did also make sure we:
    * learned how to swim and dive
    * got to know our grandparents and great grandparents
    * could go to college if we wanted to
    * were encouraged to read
    * joined a scouting type group (I started in Camp Fire, then switched to Girl Scouts; my brother was in Boy Scouts; my sister was in Girl Scouts)–one good thing about scouting is that since it’s not attached to schools, the parents can decide whether to punish failing kids by kicking them out
    * were raised in a religion (or two)
    * learned how to do things on our own (chores, riding buses)
    * learned to ride a bike
    * respected education
    * knew that we don’t have to be perfect
    * felt that we could do anything we really wanted to do


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