India has come a very long way in education and career. There used to be a time when the choices used to be restricted and forks in the road rather few. It was science, arts or commerce, and consequently career options were restricted and were based on these educational qualifications alone. But in the recent years, the education and career scenarios have shifted dramatically following the expanding demands and talents of the generation.
Exams or not, holidays or not, academic pressure plagues children and parents alike. It’s as if their entire life depended on it. Or does it? Why do we lay such stress on academic excellence? What happens to that section of the population who are not proficient enough? After all, it’s common knowledge that there can be only one topper? Then why are we all running a race without giving any thought as to why or how? Why is our inherent herd mentality which was meant to be a survival skill driving us to doom?
Bullies are everywhere. Being bullied while being perceived as being victimized does have serious and lasting consequences on the psyche. But the victim is not the only one who undergoes trauma. Addressing the issue from the root cause starts from the bully as he/she is has some grave psychological imbalance to go to the extent of finding solace in others’ misery with dominance.
Assertiveness is becoming an increasingly essential social and communication skill. But unfortunately it is confused with aggression. Aggression is a negative trait which may involve violence either actively or passively. But assertiveness is an expression of calm confidence that does not take on any form of violence. Aggressive responses signal a lack of self-confidence and most times deemed inappropriate whereas assertiveness is standing up for oneself or others and the most appropriate way to express views and opinions.
“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach him to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”
Exam times are not the only reasons for children to stay focused. Keeping their attention and concentration on the lessons as they are being taught is more crucial than just during exam times. And if they are taught the art of practicing focus, it becomes second nature to them thereby eliminating the need to be on their backs their whole lives.
Technological advances have brought with them a whole load of distractions by means of social media, movies and books all at the click of a button. Children spend maximum time online; some surf and some study. So is this article an advice to parent to ban social media and all electronic gadgets from children’s lives? Certainly not. A happy child with a happy mind is the basis for focus and depriving them is only going to make them sulk and is going to take their minds away from studies than ever.
“Life is a journey, not a destination”
In a world where everyone’s in a race either with themselves or in competition with others, how many amongst us ever stop to wonder about the destination. We keep running, passing on the baton to our kids. If we all could just pause for a moment and reflect on our journey, where we are headed to and whether the means justify the end, and taking it a little further – if the end was worth it all, we would find solutions to so many of life’s puzzles.
What are we teaching our children – both by words as well as from our actions? What are we after? While there is no doubt that monetary stability is one of the key factors to achieve success in life, is that all that matters? While each financial benchmark achieved is only a step to aim for the next, of what use is all this power, position and financial success without the heart and mind that stops to smell the flowers along the way; running blindly towards quenching an unquenchable thirst – the ever eluding elixir of life called HAPPINESS.
Putting someone else’s interest before our own is a value which must be taught to children. Being kind, helpful and, generally, a good human being is something children will learn only if people around them practice the same. In a world where popular culture celebrates egocentric thoughts and centres around becoming successful no matter what, we need to make children believe that compassion will take them places.
In a workplace, being sensitive to others’ problems, helping each other in times of crisis, sharing workload etc, are important values in order to encourage teamwork, and create a trusted, secure, happy and satisfying work environment. Success is but natural in such compassionate and affectionate workplaces. Nobody in the world is successful on their own, they will always have someone who has helped them in some way or the other to climb the success ladder.
In fact, compassion is what makes us different from wild animals in the forest, it is what makes us human.
We live in a society and not in isolation, and so, we must remember that we will need people sometime in our lives and those relationships can be built only if you truly love and care for them.
We live in a world where the destination is more important than the journey. In a bid to achieve success, we often forget honesty and morality. Dishonesty might help you today in a sales pitch but tomorrow if the customer /client isn’t satisfied, you will not only lose the customer but also get a bad name for your organisation. Children must be taught to value honesty and uphold ethical responsibility not only in their jobs but also in their life. Success when achieved fast, using immoral ways, will also leave you equally fast.
Simple things like owning up to one’s own mistakes, making genuine promises and not eluding people with exaggeration, being true to people and valuing their efforts, instead of taking advantage of them just to get your work done, appreciating other people’s work and not hogging the limelight for something you haven’t done. These values are very generic in nature and everyone knows their importance, but somewhere down the line power and success blinds them or they succumb to pressures and choose immoral means to succeed.
Integrity is not part of any book or curriculum, it is something children imbibe from family, school and friends.
The world will remember you not based on your success but the kind of human being you are, and values like integrity make you that human being.
Apart from skills and education, what will get children to shine in this competitive world is the attitude. Two people with similar education but with different attitudes will approach work or life differently. And this difference makes one more successful than the other. Today, we shall look certain types of attitudes that will help children reach great heights in the corporate world.
Curiosity: As children, curiosity is abundant in them, but we must make sure to keep sustaining curiosity and stimulating higher levels of curiosity by introducing them to books, documentaries, and other educational media. Today, technology keeps them abreast with the world happenings; adequate exposure to it will keep them aware and also push them to know more!
Value For Time & Money: Time and money are two factors which the world runs on. People who value time and money, value the world and the world will value them. A routine or discipline needs to be instilled in their everyday lives. This will make it easier for them to get accustomed to a fast-paced business world. When they learn to respect money, they will automatically learn to respect hard-work. Also, one must learn to handle personal finances, only then one earns credibility.
Ambition: Employers are looking for ambitious people, hungry to learn and eager to achieve greater heights. Those who are passionate about their work and are willing to continuously hone their skills to fit into the market are priceless to companies. Of course, there must a balance between one’s personal ambitions and the company’s interests. The kind of value an employee attaches to the company can make him an asset or a liability, one must learn to look at the bigger picture, and not just personal success.
Solution-Driven & Open : When children are taught to be solution driven, it heightens their innovating capacity, pushes them to strive for excellence and makes them open to different perspectives and possibilities-all of which are necessary to develop leadership and team-building skills. Children with such skills and attitudes will be more resourceful to organizations, making them almost indispensable and of course successful!
Most of all, children need to be true to their work and their learning processes. They must be able to harness the learning at home and school, to the best of their potential, to face a cutthroat yet exciting corporate life.
Our world is rapidly changing. How can we help our children keep up?
21st century skills are the new building blocks for learning. Our children will need to survive and thrive in an increasingly competitive world, and at the same time be able to collaborate with others. Creativity and innovation will be highly prized for solving challenges.
So how do we prepare our children for the jobs of the future?
What new skills will they need?
Our children will have to be equipped with a mixed skill set encompassing traditional academics, life skills such as collaboration, problem solving, creativity, and career skills such as innovation, technology, and global awareness.
While schools are beginning to make the shift toward 21st century standards, there’s a lot that you can do as a parent to foster these skills at home. It is always better to provide a good foundation at an early age.
Try these ideas as starters for supporting your child’s success.
- When children play together, offer them a collective set of play materials to encourage sharing, turn-taking, and social skills.
- Encourage out-of-the-box thinking by asking your child to come up with one or two new rules to a familiar game. This helps kids learn to evaluate their ideas, and solve problems in a group.
- Invite your child to help you solve common household problems by engineering new solutions. How can you get the back door not to stick? What’s a tidier way to bathe your new pooch?
- Encourage your child to participate in family decisions and problem solving, and then praise your child’s efforts to reason through different situations. If they seem hesitant, brainstorm together. Once your child understands that all ideas are welcome, they will feel more confident.
Together we shall prepare our kids to be the leaders of 21st Century!