One of the most challenging – and rewarding – life stages is when you’re actively parenting children. While we all want our children to be smart, I think most of us would agree that teaching them to be kind and empathetic is important, too. Because, of course, one day, your children will be adults out in the world. Your real role is not to raise the smartest kiddo. It’s preparing children for the person they are going to grow up to BE.
Because what we really want of our children when they become adults is to know how to be responsible, independent, and happy in their own skin.
Though I’m mostly talking about parent in this stage of life, there are others who may not have children their household on the regular that are still in this stage of life. So, if you work as a teacher or other job in an educational field, you may spend the bulk of your career in this life stage: preparing children for a future of happiness and personal leadership.
But how do you prepare a child to make sound decisions for the common good? These tips will help you teach children the skills and habits that will empower them to be the leaders of tomorrow.
One – When Preparing Children to be Happier Adults You Need to Lead By Your Example
The best education tool you have is your behavior. Teach children the foundational skills and attitudes that you admire in your role models by aspiring to be the best version of yourself that you can be. Following your example, your child will take steps in the right direction. Seeing you aspire to be a worthy human being with their own eyes is worth far more than all the theoretical teaching in the world.
Rather than instruct a child that kindness is important, show them that you value kindness through your own words and actions. Value Compassionate Discipline? Show your child that you don’t always do what you please at all times. Wish your child would develop a passion for something worthwhile? Let them see your passion for the things that make you tick.
Children will model what they see the adults in their lives doing.
Two – Sometimes You Need to Think Out-of-the-Box when Preparing Children for the Future Through Education
A child’s schooling will have a pivotal role in their development. Conventional schooling tends to lean heavily on exam-based learning and rote study, leaving little time for developing other essential skills and qualities. Unfortunately, this means that many children finish school with a strong, if narrow, sense of individual achievement, but they are ill-equipped to tackle the wide range of challenges they will face as adults.
This isn’t preparing children for a future where they are well-rounded, empathetic, or acting as the leaders in their own lives.
So, while learning facts, figures, and other kinds of things we define as “book smarts”, don’t forget life skills. Sometimes a more creative, open-minded teacher will incorporate educational activities that spark creativity and foster social skills, like a Team Building Escape Room for the Classroom, or a role-playing exercise to help children understand and sympathize with other points of view.
Three – When You Get Involved In Your Community You are Preparing Children for a More Diverse Community
No man is an island. This applies to children as well. Many parents or educators resist the idea of letting children engage with people from different backgrounds because they worry about ‘negative’ influences. However, rather than protecting your child, you may be depriving them of the opportunity to learn essential skills, develop compassion, and grow as human beings.
When you are preparing children for a future where they will be happier, independent, and have a clear vision of who they are in the world, you want them to understand the world around them. Children are constantly learning about the world, themselves, and how to traverse it all. When you get involved with people in your neighborhood, either through social activities or by supporting community initiatives, you are preparing children for a world that isn’t the same every where.
This is important. Because, of course, none of us know what we’ve never been exposed to. However, if you allow your children to be involved in the community, they can see how to work in better harmony with others who may be different from them.
When you’re preparing children for the future, remember that the goal is helping them be the best version of themselves at every age.
A child that is empathetic, understand the world around them, and trusts their inner voice will grow into an adult that is comfortable in their own skin. While life is always changing, these three powerful ways of preparing kiddos for the future allows them to stand strong in who they are, see a vision of the future, and do so with real life skills.
And that, my dear, is incredibly powerful. Because this allows them to follow their heart and dreaming big while keeping their feet firmly on the ground.