Back in school, Elementary school to be exact, my Arts teacher always asked who we wanted to be when we grew up. A vast and wide spectrum of professions would be yelled from every corner of the classroom! Our eyes sparkled with anticipation of the future and our grins got wider, as each yelled his profession with absolute and deep certainty that this is who he wanted to be. Back then, we knew exactly what we wanted, so much more than we do now. Back then, we had immense faith and belief in ourselves and our dreams! Back then, what we didn’t know didn’t matter! What we did know, on the other hand, was “I am capable, and I am enough!”
Looking back on the matter, I began to fathom where I’d be right now, where we’d all be, if we were properly nurtured, guided, educated and informed on how to acquire the necessary and adequate tools and mindsets, or how much time, effort and knowledge it would take to reach our dream jobs! Where we’d all be if we were taught to cease opportunities, grab life by the horns, and not fear risks, not fear failures. Where would our entire society be, if schools would incorporate Entrepreneurial studies and activities, instead of screwing our minds with “Find X” formulas! This is where it all starts, and this is when you ignite the passion and support the independence within this generation. At 10 years of age, I was my own boss, and nobody could tell me what I could or couldn’t do, (except bedtime curfew maybe), or what I’m allowed to dream or fantasize about. Back then, the sky was the limit, and boy was I hot-headed and opinionated!
Kids these days have it even better than our generation once did, with such easy access to the fast-paced advancements happening all around us, being exposed and “out there” into the world certainly adds to their growth, awareness and development.
Here are a few directions families and schools can be involved in helping children foster individuality and bring out the Richard Branson in them.
Write down their goals: Simple or broad-scaled, long termed or short termed, writing down their goals will help these kids to prioritize, motivate them to take action and celebrate accomplishments when done!
Recognize opportunities: We more often than not point out the setbacks or misbehaves in our child’s say, academic performance, but never do we actually acknowledge their take on life issues. Kids notice everything, ask a lot of questions and complain a lot. With each and every negative remark from their side, comes a brainstorming possibility! Asking them to think of solutions or even praising them for pointing out issues, could be a great launch to start training them on how to phish for opportunities and openings!
Financial literacy: When children are taught the value of money, financial management and saving, they will have a better understanding of how hard money is to attain, how important it is to save up and how much and on what should they spend. If your child wants to buy a certain “something”, start ‘em young and suggest they start saving. Just make sure that the amount of money is attainable and that acquiring it will not take a long time, or else your child will feel discouraged or might grow impatient.
Failures are blessings in disguise: Everybody experiences failure, even the little ones. Do not belittle their failures, just because their consequences are not as severe and immense as if they were yours! With each and every failure or setback, is a chance to redirect and reevaluate. Children must be taught to understand that failure is nothing but merely life showing you where you shouldn’t be. Have a sit-down with your youngsters and discuss what you think went wrong, and what they think must be done regarding that, and how to avoid future problems!
Self-Expression: Our youngsters will never shy away from expressing themselves, possibly at the most inconvenient of times, but that should never be suppressed. They should always be encouraged to speak their minds and never have to worry that their voices may not be heard. Their opinions always matter! Nobody’s going to live their lives for them but them!
Ask for their opinion: Like self-expression, asking for their opinion would enhance their self-esteem. Knowing that their voices and opinions matter and are of significance to people they look up to (parents, teachers, older siblings, team coach), would help them channel all the go-getter juice and stimulate their individuality.
Below is a video a mom has recorded while arguing with her 3 year old son about his cupcake consumption. Take your time and laugh it off, but I want you to really consider the amount of space and leverage this mother has given her child to get his point across, the trust between the two of them and how highly he thinks of himself. With this level of decisiveness and assertiveness at such a young age, I am scared to think of what this kid can do in the future!