My mom is a very smart woman, as kids we all knew that, as long as it pertained to academics and a retentive memory, our mom was the smartest. However, when it came to dealing with people and navigating the real world, we unanimously agreed that our father was the smartest.
A book smart person is one who is able to absorb academic material easily and pass set quizzes and tests without any hardship. However as we grow up and mature, we realize that it takes more than just academic books to survive the real world.
It takes knowing how to relate with people, how to handle money, how to navigate and adapt to different worldly systems, how to blend in and stand out, and how to be assertive and draw boundaries, how to protect your peace, how to have a relationship with God, how to deal with failure and how to press on.
It takes being an all round smart person to survive in the world.
World youth skills day is celebrated in the month of July. This year’s theme was Empowering youth for a sustainable future: Building skills for tomorrow. World youth day is in line with Sustainable Development Goal 4 -Quality Education. This part of the vision 2030 seeks to “Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”.
Kids might gain an education from school, but there is so much more they need to learn that won’t be taught in schools and so at the end of the day it comes down to exposure.
How much you expose your kids to the world, is what will set them up for life. Exposing them to different environments and experiences, challenging them to be their own person in the home and stand their ground outside of the home. Challenging them to have values and principles before the world imposes its own standards on them.
Below I’ve compiled a few suggestions and how we can set up our young ones for a transformative future.
- Create a safe space in the home. Charity does begin at home. The love and affirmations that a child gets from home is the foundation for their belief system for the rest of their lives. The first few years are the most tender years and what we feed them with is what will be the base from which they blossom.
2. Create opportunities for interaction with others. Your kids might be attending schools or be homeschooled, the key is to make sure they keep touch with the outside world. You can also enroll them for summer camps, play groups, sunday or bible school, just to get them started.
It’s okay to be introverted or extroverted, but the truth is no man is an island, and however painful it may be to interact with others, the sooner they learn, the better they are able to have a smoother transition into adulthood
3. Involve family.
I personally come from a big family, my spouse is also from a big family. Family members can indeed be toxic. The key is to protect them while also teaching them how to enforce boundaries by example. You might protect them from family members today but they might experience toxic people in the workplace or in future relationships.So involve family members to teach them inter relational skills. Of course it’s a different story if you feel safer by cutting off total contact.
4. Expose them to books and good movies
Classic family movies with long lasting values, let them read books about adventure and travel and fantasy. The more they know, they more than can imagine, the more they can dare to aspire.
5. Take them on excursions and travel trips. Take short trips to the neighborhood library, go on further to the town zoo. Get them an international passport, save for travels across the country and abroad, let them eat the food from other nationalities, let them see how other people dress and talk and eat. Let them see that although human beings look different, we are all one and the same.
6. Have difficult conversations. Conversations about gender, sexuality, spirituality. If you don’t teach them the world will. One important thing to note is that conversations are important but who you are as a person, your character and actions are more likely to influence your kids than anything you will ever say. You can be a pastor and teach them the bible inside/out but if you’re not walking the talk, you’ll be wasting your time. Teach your kids what you believe in and live out those principles and also allow them the autonomy to decide for themselves.
7. Teach children choice and responsibility. As far as I can remember my father never enforced anything on us. He would advise and let us make the decision and he let us know that we were responsible for the outcome as well. The key to getting this, is having a rewards system from a young age. This will help kids learn that there are always repercussions for any decisions made.
8. Teach the young ones that there is dignity in labor. Any kind of labor. Teach them to do their best in whatever work their hands find doing. Model respect for other professions in your daily walk.
9. Teach the young ones Volunteering. Teach them to help others, with their time or skill.
10. Teach them to work with their hands and pursue their passions. As caregivers, teachers and parents we must be willing to go with conventional or unconventional methods of teaching, knowing that every child is different and what works for one child may not be appropriate for another. We must let the young ones experiment and fail, the is the key to becoming a successful entrepreneur, innovator and trail blazer.
Do you have any other ideas or suggestions that could work? Feel free to share below