20 Things We Were Taught as Kids That Are Just Utterly Useless Today

Remember the good old days when life was all about playgrounds, coloring books, and learning to tie your shoelaces? Ah, the blissful simplicity of childhood. As kids, we were bombarded with life lessons, some profound and some seemingly trivial, which were meant to shape us into responsible adults.

Surprisingly, as we grow older, we tend to toss some of these teachings out the window, deeming them irrelevant. But are they really obsolete, or have we just lost sight of their importance in the complicated maze of adulthood?

One Redditor asked, “What simple lessons were you taught as a kid or teen that you don’t adhere to as an adult because it doesn’t matter now?” The thread has over thousands of comments, but we have selected the most epic lessons for you!

1. Floppy Disks

Yellow floppy disk on yellow background.
Image Credit: Epov Dmitry/Shutterstock.

A Reddit user commented, “Don’t pull the metal thing across on floppy disks”

Another replied, “I used to do it every time my teacher gave me a floppy disk to deliver to the teacher next door. I’d do it Every. Single. Time despite being told not to lol”

We’ve got USBs and cloud storage now, people! Floppy disks are gathering dust in the Museum of Ancient Tech.

2. In-Person Applications

Mean Boss in Office
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Someone commented, ““Always show up in person to ask for an application or interview.””

Someone else added, “This! When the ad says to call to schedule an interview or apply online or send a resume to this specific email address, and you show up in the office unscheduled, all we see is that you can’t follow simple instructions.”

Nowadays, we just click, swipe, and tap our way into jobs. If you show up in person, they might look at you like you’re a time traveler from the past.

3. Tattoos

young adult girl with baseball hat and tattoo
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Oh, the tattoo taboo! Tattoos are practically mainstream now. In fact, not having a tattoo might be the odd one out. Employers care more about your skills and qualifications than the design of your skin.

One said, “Don’t get visible tattoos; no one will give you work.”

Another added, “Yeah, I heard that one a lot. Really different now. My 2nd graders’ new teacher is tatted up, full sleeve on each arm.”

4. Loyalty

Man in Office Looking for Help
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A Reddit user wrote, “Be loyal to a company, and they’ll take care of you for life.”

Another replied, “Staying with an employer/loyalty. Nope! I’ve gotten more raises and better titles by going elsewhere.”

Loyalty doesn’t pay the bills; adaptability and constant learning do.

5. Dress Formal

Adult man in formalwear and eyeglasses on yellow background
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A discerning Reddit user commented, “Always wear a suit and tie.”

One said, “Ask to speak to the manager when you drop off your application in a suit and tie. At McDonald’s.”

Sure, suits are classy, but in a world where hoodies and jeans have become the norm, even in boardrooms, the suit-and-tie rule is as outdated as a rotary phone.

6. Customer Is Always Right

Angry Business Woman
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Someone commented, “The customer is always right.”

Someone else added, “The customer is always right has been bastardized. The actual quote is the customer is always right in matters of taste. So if the customer is being rude, that doesn’t qualify that person to do whatever they want to.”

Customer service is a high-stakes game of keeping a straight face while dealing with the absurd.

7. Hard Work

Side View Of Business People Quarreling At Desk In Office
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Uh-huh, tell that to the intern working two jobs and still drowning in student loans. It’s not just about hard work anymore; it’s about smart work, networking, and sometimes just plain luck.

One said, “”Hard work pays off” LOL Yep.. that was a load of junk. Oh well”

Another replied, “Yeah, I tried the ‘hard work pays off’ and got stress-related eczema, a 30-pound weight gain, and bipolar. Lesson, kids-don’t let your work be your life, and especially don’t work for a place that doesn’t value you.”

8. Leaving Work

Sad nerdy guy
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A Reddit user wrote, “Don’t leave work until after your boss.”

Another added, “Don’t leave work until after your boss. Are we Japan now? Lol. As a boss, I never leave the office if my team is still there.”

So, leaving after your boss? More like leaving the office and then working from your couch until the wee hours.

9. Ma’am or Sir

Elderly smiling smart confident happy european woman 50s wearing glasses yellow shirt hold hand.
Image Credit: ViDI Studio/Shutterstock.

Someone commented, “Using ma’am and sir. I grew up in the American South, and that was literally beat into me. And using Mr/Miss etc. Moved to Australia to settle down after college, and people will fight you over using those words bc they feel you’re making fun/calling them ancient. Had to drop them, and it was hard. I still revert sometimes when nervous.”

Someone else added, “Same. My family still gets weird about if I, a 36-year-old, fail to address an older family member in this way. It’s so stupid. I live in CA now and do not miss a single thing about the southern US.”

Now? It can sometimes come off as stiff and formal.

10. Curse Words

Stylish emotional elderly woman with an evil face waving index finger over white background.
Image Credit: Alonafoto/Shutterstock.

Oh, how quaint! In the real world, colorful language is practically an art form. Have you been in rush hour traffic lately? Sometimes, well-timed profanity is the only thing that keeps us sane.

A discerning Reddit user commented, “I use curse words in public. Side note: I had an ancient boomer recently yell at me for saying the f-word in the presence of his wife. He wanted me to apologize, but when I refused, he told my husband to step outside so he could show him some manners. 1. He had nothing to do with it, and 2. My husband said ok, let’s go outside but then the guy just yelled that we’re spoiled and walked away.”

Another replied, “I had a similar experience cursing while my kid was present. An old woman gave me a hard time about it, saying I was “poisoning his little mind” using bad words in front of him. I politely told her to mind her business.”

11. Balancing a Checkbook

Business man prepare writing a check
Image Credit: Icatnews/Shutterstock.

A Reddit user wrote, “Balancing a checkbook. I learned how to balance a checkbook in 7th grade home economics and never did it again. People from the previous generations told me they didn’t do it.”

Another added, “Oh, yes. I had one at 15 when I opened a bank account for my first job. Useless information then, too, tbh.”

Thanks to online banking, most of us haven’t seen a checkbook since the 90s.

12. Cleaning

Hygiene and cleaning concept. Tired overworked female in rubber gloves and sponge
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One said, “That there is only one way to clean things, and you have to finish all cleaning all at once.”

Someone else added, “It’s difficult. I have to stop myself when I think I need to correct my kids. If the thing is clean, it doesn’t matter how it got to that point. All that matters is that it is clean. I spot clean rooms now. So I might swish my toilet on Monday, clean my counters on Tuesday, and wash my floor on Wednesday. It gets clean!”

Whoever came up with this idea clearly never faced the chaos of modern life. We clean in spurts now, multitasking like pros. Cleaning the whole house in one go? That’s a fantasy. We do it one room at a time, with breaks for Netflix and snacks in between.

13. College Degrees

Young university graduate woman isolated on pink background smiling
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Someone commented, “Going to college is the only way to not flip burgers or bag groceries for the rest of your life.”

Another added, “Biggest lie we were ever told. I remember a “happiness scale” they used to show that people with advanced degrees are just happier than those without. Well, guess what? I don’t even have to tell you. Cause you already know. Smh”

People are out there making a killing as influencers, gamers, and even meme creators. Times have changed, and so have the paths to success.

14. Making Your Bed

Girl in the bed looking mad
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We’re all about that messy bed aesthetic. Who has time to perfectly tuck in sheets when there are a million more important things to do, like, you know, checking social media?

A Reddit user wrote, “Making my bed. that, no one’s in my bedroom looking at my bed.”

Another replied, “Dust allergy sufferer here! It’s better to NOT make your bed because made beds don’t readily let moisture evaporate. Dust mites get water from the air.”

15. Cursive Writing

Fountain pen on an antique handwritten letter. Vintage nib pen and handwritten english cursive style font copperplate, spencerian. Old history background. Retro style.
Image Credit: Triff/Shutterstock.

A discerning Reddit user commented, “Writing in cursive. Always forbidden and looked down upon for some reason.”

Someone else added, “I got in trouble in 2nd grade for my loopy Y’s and G’s because we were only doing printing. Apparently, I was going to confuse the other kids. I didn’t care then at 7; I do not care now at 34.”

Do you know any cursive writers and how others treated their handwriting?

16. Eating

person eating large sandwich
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Remember the days when you had to eat everything on your plate? Now? Portion control and saving leftovers are our best friends.

Someone commented, “Eating all the food on your plate actually just makes you fat.”

Another added, “I have problems with overeating to this day because my dad was adamant that I HAD to eat everything on my plate, even when I complained I was full. It didn’t teach me how to estimate a portion accurately; it taught me to keep eating even when my body is crying for me to stop.”

17. Calculators

Portrait of happy couple counting money together at home
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One said, “Don’t count with your fingers, and you need to know your multiplication tables because you won’t always have a calculator in your pocket. PSYCH! I have access to all human knowledge in my pocket.”

Another replied, “To all those who said we have to learn maths tables, haha, we don’t.”

Newsflash: we do have calculators in our pockets, and they’re called smartphones! Why bother with mental math when Siri can do it for you?

18. Treating Others

Photo portrait of lovely young girl disgusted discontent face dressed stylish yellow smart casual look isolated on blue color background.
Image Credit: Roman Samborskyi/Shutterstock.

Ah, the golden rule! It’s a fantastic principle, but let’s face it: not everyone plays by the same rulebook. People can be rude, and kindness doesn’t always beget kindness.

A Reddit user wrote, “Treat people how you want to be treated.”

Someone else added, “I’m sure most of us were taught, “Treat people how you want to be treated.” But about 8 years ago, in a corporate training about personalities, learning styles, and how best to work with others, the presenter said to throw that idea out the window and said, “You should treat people how THEY want to be treated.””

19. $100K Is Not Enough

Man in white shirt holding money box
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Oh boy, if only it were that simple! Inflation has hit harder than a wrecking ball. A hundred grand might sound like a lot, but it doesn’t stretch as far as it used to.

Someone commented, “Make 100k, and everything will be fine….. make well over that, and no, everything is not fine.”

Another added, “It is a little more complicated than that when you add in paying for daughter’s college tuition, have another child with cerebral palsy, and other variables, then you realize 100k is nothing.”

20. Coins

five US Cent Coins
Image Credit: haveseen via DepositPhotos.com.

A Reddit user commented, “My parents said always travel with a lot of dimes for the payphones. You might need to make a call. Not quarters, dimes. That’s how old I am.”

Another replied, “I saved SO many quarters before I went to college because my family told me I’d need them for laundry. I got pulled aside in the airport and had to get all of them swabbed because I guess carrying an obscene amount of quarters looked suspicious, and I was shaking in my boots.

Anyway, it turns out the dorm laundry room used a card system and didn’t accept quarters. I ended up handwashing most of my clothes my entire freshman year to save money anyway. Came home with a bag still full of quarters.”

Coins? They jingle in your pocket, weigh you down, and are just a pain to deal with. Plastic cards and digital wallets have taken over the world, and frankly, we’re not complaining.

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