Skip to Main Content

5 ½ Things I Learned in Primary School

Peter Katevatis - May 22, 2015
We all secretly love lists, from Letterman’s Top Ten to Moses’ Top Ten… Commandments that is.  They are simple, entertaining, and often leave an impression on the back of our brains to help improve our lives.  Here is a short list of things I learned

We all secretly love lists, from Letterman’s Top Ten to Moses’ Top Ten… Commandments that is.  They are simple, entertaining, and often leave an impression on the back of our brains to help improve our lives.  Here is a short list of things I learned from Kindergarten to Grade 3 that helped shape my character and I try (sometimes poorly) to instill in my children.

 

Edith Cavell School - Vancouver

 

  1. Saving is future spending – Since I’m a financial guy I put the money one first.  At the corner store, if I took my dimes and bought penny candy with some of my money, THEN I could save the leftover to my favourite chocolate bar on another trip!  Teaching this lesson to our kids is so important in an age when you can purchase things with a click of a button.  Share the decision for a large purchase item with your kids.  Get their input on how to save for it.  Children follow our lead and by getting them involved in our saving actions helps them learn how to prioritize future spending.
  2. Look both ways before you cross the street – If it’s you versus a car, the car will win.  After soccer practice earlier this year one of the parents was very uncomfortable leaving one boy to walk home on his own.  The boy explained that it was only 4 blocks away and he did it all the time.  The parent expressed concern that the boy had to cross Marine Drive. Looking confused by this, the boy replied in an 8-yr old matter-of-fact tone with, “I wait for the cars to stop first.”  Kids can do amazing things if we let them. 
  3. Ears before mouth – we all need a reminder of this one once and a while.  If you listen carefully, your comments will be much more insightful.  As a student, if you pay attention to the teacher/ lectures, the homework is a refresher.  As an adult, active listening is important in everything you do in business – from having conversations with coworkers, to having a conversation with your child – active listening is a skill we should all learn to master.
  4. Clean up after yourself – “I didn’t do it” The famous words of Bart Simpson.  If someone has made a mistake he or she needs to acknowledge that it has occurred, then takes steps to clean it up.  Mistakes happen, owning up is important for any form of resolution.
  5. Concrete is a good teacher – I always mention to my kids that concrete taught me how to ride a bike.  If you hit the ground hard a few times, you are quickly motivated to stay upright.  Today’s children need more play that involves figuring things out for themselves.  Don’t get me started on Lego with instructions - really?  The lesson here is that we are shaped by experiences. Travel, failures, triumph, sorrow, wandering, jubilation, etc… are what mold character.

5.5 Make your own toast – My mom is a great cook and was always open to having a little help even though it was probably easier to do it herself.  Learning to take care of yourself is an important survival skill and it doesn’t get more important than basic nourishment.  The first few “experiments” with your kids will lead you back to #4 but it is a good lesson nonetheless.

 

I can thank my parents, especially my mom, for much of this list but special mention also goes to my Kindergarden & Grade 1 teacher Mrs. Chornomud of Edith Cavell, and my hard-ass hockey coach.