When children go to school the emphasis is for the most part academic. I don't know about you but I would guess out of the hundreds of hours I spent at a public school the things I learned are rarely used. (Another reason to homeschool). Reading is the exception. I definitely want to teach my children to read as well as to have a passion for reading. I am obviously not saying that there is no place for academics. There is. However we should focus on character and life skills. I think one of the best life skills we can teach our children is for them to know how to teach themselves.
Here are some things my husband and I want to emphasize and really seek to engrain into our children:
mow lawn (my husband's idea :0)
joy despite circumstances
loving the unlovable
a deep, personal, genuine love for God and His Word
Just to name a few. These are things that will definitely be used everyday for the rest of their lives (with the exception of the second one!) These are things I wish I would have been taught as early as possible.
It's important that we keep in mind our children will most likely be parents and spouses some day. What kind of qualities do we want them to bring to motherhood/fatherhood and marriage?
Most importantly we need to be MODELING these things in our lives. Remember, doing is a much better teaching tool then telling. Nobody likes a hypocrite. It's hard to learn anything from a hypocrite... except how to be a hypocrite!
What do you want to teach your children?