By living in the 21st Century, being solely book-smart is becoming less of a popular achievement amongst children. Modern parents and teachers are increasingly driven towards the direction of implementing soft skills training into their young ones, this is due to the understanding that being smart academically does not guarantee a child’s smooth or successful transition from adolescence to adult.
Here are a few essential skills that are a must to own:
- I am a Leader.
Every company or high school club requires a role model, an individual to apply correct teachings into the team and make wise decisions for the benefit of the people they lead. A way parents could help their child develop this leadership skill is to constantly encourage their child to participate in clubs and societies in school. More so, parents should give their child a boost of confidence to uptake important positions in the clubs they join, that way they are exposed to the tasks needed to be uphold by a leader. Not only that, they will also experience and learn a combination of other soft skills like teamwork and effective communication.
John Rampton, author of the online Entrepreneur Asia Pacific depicted parents as a role model to set a good leadership example to children. That way parents will be able to teach the young ones ‘accountability through effective leadership’ hence training children from young to be responsible leaders.
- I Manage and Prioritize.
The couple of hours a child spends in school and before going to bed is a practice field for their time management skill. Parents often worry when their child receives insane amounts of homework, club meetings, projects and many more other responsibilities uphold by a student. However, with the proper management of his/her time and knowing how to prioritize urgent tasks, a student will be able to organize and complete them in a timely manner. Learning how to put urgent matters first is an essential part of time management and it is what separates the ‘working hard’s from the ‘working smart’s. Not only does this skill allow the child to make smart choices in deciding which task to put first, but they will also be able to focus completely on the important tasks instead of multitasking – less focus on something could lead to lower quality work produced.
Dr. Stephan R. Covey, author of the best-selling ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’ used a pebbles, rocks and sand analogy to show how this essential combo of ‘prioritize and focus’ is key to completing even the most difficult duties while juggling a busy schedule.
The analogy goes accordingly:
A glass jar was filled carefully with fist-sized rocks until the brim. Smaller pebbles and sands were produced and placed in the same jar, filling up the gaps between the rocks. One would think that is the end, however, the jar, containing rocks, pebbles and sand squeezed together tightly was still able to allow water to fill the jar completely.
“What are the big rocks in your life? A project that you want to accomplish? Time with your loved ones? Your faith, your education, your finances? A cause? Teaching or mentoring others? Remember to put these Big Rocks in first or you’ll never get them in at all.” – Stephan Covey
He has demonstrated to us the significance of prioritizing tasks in order to focus on what’s needed to be done before even attempting to do the less important ones. Children should be able to focus on upcoming homework and quizzes while managing time for a later due project before putting forward the thought of hobbies and games.
- I am Responsible for Me!
One of the essential skills that children should absorb from a young age is how to handle their own responsibilities in their daily life. It is often seen that parents apply the ‘protect and solve’ habit to cover for their child’s mistakes instead of guiding them towards responsibility and independence. Not only will this error deprive the child from developing problem solving skills but it will also be damaging for the child in the long run when he/she start facing problems of their own.
Parents should instead encourage their child/children to evaluate and ponder about their own mistakes. For example:
If a child does badly on a math test, should a parent pull him/her to the math teacher and demand an explanation for the obtained grade? Or should a parent guide their child through his/her disappointment by asking questions that prompt him/her to think about whether enough effort was invested into the exam preparations, was him/her struggling with the study materials etc.
“Understanding what they want to solve can help identify how to approach a way to solve it”
says Sara McMickle, head of the Office of College Counseling at Léman Manhattan Preparatory School in New York City. With this, the child is forced to discover his/her own possible solutions to solve their academic problems in school, this mindset of accountability will gradually improve as the child faces greater challenges later on.
Every child deserves a chance at having well-shaped soft skills – it is the parent’s responsibility to ensure their next generation realizes the importance of soft skill development, in turn they will grow up to put them to good use then pass on the teachings to their children.