Even though my siblings and I went to school, my dad had a large hand in our education. He had a list of skills and tasks we had to learn and do before we could leave the house for college. They seemed kind of eclectic growing up, but I have since learned the wisdom of those tasks.

Learn to type

Dad made each of us take a typing class. We were required to learn to type, and not just get by with hunting and pecking. My typing class was in the 7th grade on a mechanical typewriter that made my pinkies strong. I got up to 60 words per minute. I encountered my first computer in the 8th grade, and I was thrilled that I knew how to type. Back then it was common to type in programs from magazines, and typing came in handy. With the exception of vacations, there hasn't been a day since then that I haven't appreciated my ability to type.

Be able to write a letter

My dad is a writer. Customer service for corporations wasn't as good back then as it is now, and my dad had a habit of writing letters in regard to product issues. He'd try calling first, but if that didn't work, he'd write a letter. Nine times out of ten, he had success with the letter. His theory was that since most people didn't take the time and energy to write a letter, his letters stood out like a sore thumb. And, if dad had the energy and ability to write a coherent letter to customer service, who else could he write a letter too?

Customer service is better these days, probably due to the Internet and the ease of which people can voice complaints and make them be heard. Even so, letters are still useful in many ways.

Change oil in a car and know how an engine works

As kids we had to help dad in the garage. We had to learn how to change the oil in a few different cars. We had to learn the basics of a combustion engine. We had to learn the names of the various tools in the garage and what each was used for. Dad taught us basic troubleshooting.

None of us work on our own cars. None of us like oil and grease. However, we understand what our mechanics tell us, and that's a good thing. My sisters and I have a relatively easy time picking mechanics that we trust.

Read The Richest Man in Babylon

The Richest Man in Babylon is a book. It was written as a series of informational pamphlets that banks published and handed out to their customers. The stories were parables about personal finance set in ancient Babylon. He started writing these in 1926, during the roaring twenties and prohibition. Eventually his best stories were assembled into the book.

This book is a great introduction to personal finance. It talks about things that should be common sense, but aren't to most people. Save one-tenth of each paycheck. Invest your money wisely. Protect it. Increase your ability to earn. The fact that these lessons are taught in parables both captures your attention and involves your emotions.

Read How to Win Friends and Influence People

Dale Carnegie's book is also filled with stuff that should be common sense, but isn't. This book is excellent for helping you get along with others which helps you be a happier person.

Thanks Dad

All of the skills my dad made us learn were excellent, and I'm going to have my kids learn all these things too.