What Do You Wish You Had Learned As A Child?

One of the great tragedies of life is that it is easiest to learn things when you are a child, but don’t yet know what you want to learn.

As a result, people often regret not learning things as a child. For example, speaking a different language, or perfecting a physical task like hitting a golf ball or shooting a free-throw. If only you had stuck with those piano lessons, you might be a concert pianist now!

Related: We often learn from reading. Listen to the Intellectual Roundtable podcast where Michael and Lee give their answers to the question, ‘What book has had the biggest impact on you?’ Stay tuned for a bonus question, ‘How do you show thanks?’

To be sure, you can still learn many skills later in life. Some of them, you can even become proficient doing, if you have the desire and the perseverance.

However, there’s little doubt that many of those same skills could have been learned even faster, and potentially even more comprehensively, if you had started them when you were still developing, both mentally and physically.

Are there any skills you wish you had learned as a child? Are there any talents you now have that you fostered when you were younger that you appreciate?

Related questions: Children or adults? What is your favorite childhood memory? Youth or wisdom? How do you learn? What’s the most useful thing you’ve ever learned?


3 thoughts on “What Do You Wish You Had Learned As A Child?”

  1. I’m going to answer this question with what I would have wanted to learn as an early teenager. I’ll let others quibble if this counts as childhood or not.

    Two things I wish I had learned in my early teen years: (1) how to cook (with an emphasis on natural ingredients), and (2) reduced my meat consumption, if not have already become a vegetarian.

    First, my Mom liked to control the kitchen, and so I had to learn how to cook as my interest in gardening blossomed in my mid-twenties. By then, I had already become somewhat reliant on processed foods for breakfast and lunch (at least). It was a hard habit to unlearn. And I am still not a great cook; I primarily throw some combination of veggies and dairy together with some sauce or soup my spouse Rebecca has made during the weekend before. I currently only know the basics of food preservation; I regret not learning how to can food for storage as I was growing up.

    Second, while people rightly claim that restaurants had few vegetarian options in the early 1990s and processed vegetarian “food” was virtually non-existent, this would have been ideal for me to cut back on meat or become a vegetarian (not a vegan). Without meat or processed “food” to rely on, I would have learned to cook with natural ingredients as previously stated as a desire.

  2. I wish I had learned a second language as a child. Being multilingual is a asset in our diverse society.
    I have a friend who is fluent in English, German and Spanish. From birth, his German mother and Hispanic father spoke English along with their native languages in their home. His 8 year old son is also fluent in all three languages.

  3. More about the natural world such as the names of trees, flowers, birds and different kinds of rocks.

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