Watching children grow up is a trip.
One day they fit snugly into our arms, so cute and tender. The next they are all grown up.
Thankfully, I still have a few years to go before my son reaches his tweens and his rebellious years and while I know they will be challenging, I look forward to them. It’s just part of the deal.
A few clients of mine are young parents like myself, and every now and then we get on the topic of children and what’s best for them. I also love to ask older clients whose children have all grown up for wisdom. As you might expect, everyone has a different view of what’s right and wrong when it comes to raising children. After all, there is no rule book when it comes to this sort of thing.
So the other day I sat down and thought about what skills would best prepare children for the world they are growing up in.
I came up with three:
Efficiency is related to how we spend our time. Creativity is being able to try new things in order to be more productive or looking at a problem in a different way. Adaptability is the ability to handle change, something we all need as the world stands still for no one.
Growing up, knowledge was power as it gave people a competitive edge. Nowadays, anyone with a cell phone has access to oodles of information. Today it’s not how much you know, but rather the application of that knowledge that determines our success.
Unfortunately, I feel that much of our education system is behind the times as it doesn’t reflect this simple, yet tectonic, shift.
The good news is that these three skills are all learnable, and surprisingly, easy to learn.
Time management skills can be taught in a surprisingly short period of time, which is why I’m about to release my time management mastery program. It’s hard to believe how a few hours investment of time and money can transform everything we do in life. And the more time we can free up, the more we can get done.
Nearly every parent I know values their time. However, many of them struggle to fit everything in.
That’s why it’s so important to learn time management while we’re young, before we get caught in the time trap. One good course on time management will pay for itself many times over the years, believe me.
Creativity, on the other hand, is slightly harder to teach, but challenging children to think outside of the box is the best way to stimulate their mind. It’s amazing how five different people can come up with five different, yet no less effective, solutions to a problem.
Board games are also a great, fun way to get their creative juices flowing as each game presents a different challenge.
Above all though, books I feel are the best way to stimulate creativity, because they force us to use our imagination and formulate ideas in our own head.
Never underestimate the power of a good book.
But if I had to teach just one skill to my son I’d have to go with adaptability because the one thing we can be sure of, is that tomorrow won’t be just like it is today.
No one knows just how 3D printing, biotech, gene therapy and renewable energy will change our world, but there’s no denying they will. We also are facing a banking crisis (in places like Europe), a debt bubble (in Western countries), rising inflation, aging demographics in many first world nations, and numerous hotspots throughout the world. When you put both of these together, there is no doubt in my mind that change is coming in a big way which is why we must be remain nimble.
Still not convinced in the importance of adapting? Look no further than the dinosaurs. They failed to adapt to the changes in the environment and went extinct.
Now hopefully we’re not going to not go extinct, but there is a definite possibility some professions will become irrelevant in tomorrow’s world.
To teach adaptability, we must put children in uncomfortable situations and teach them how to deal with them.
It’s one thing to explain how to handle a situation, and another entirely to experience one.
Theory works great in the classroom, but in the real world emotions run high and our nerves can get the better of us. The only way we learn to handle adversity and change is through experience.
Parenting isn’t as easy as it seems. Parents are constantly second guessing themselves, never sure of just what’s the right thing to do.
Me, I don’t have all the answers. What I do know is that my son thinks I’m a “tough ass.”
But life isn’t all fairy tales and pixie dust. Life is tough and it often kicks us in our face when we’re not looking.
So each day, I keep these three skills in mind when I’m with my son and look for any opportunity to teach him a valuable lesson.
Only time will tell if I get it right.
As my wife’s mother often says, “You don’t know if you’ve done a good job as a parent until you see your grandchildren.”