“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6
There is a global saying in every community about how to bring up a child. It is a common belief that the child is a blank canvas and whatever the parent puts in, the child will eventually put out when he/she grows up.
Although the environment ( school, friends, relatives, other mentors)plays a role in shaping the human, the parent is the primary coach and source of motivation. Therefore, the child believes what the parent says or does. The parent is also the main representation of ‘truth’ in every sense. As parents, therefore, we should be careful what we tell our children, how we train them, and who we allow in our children’s lives.
Below are some fundamental skills that we should equip our children with, to help them thrive in their adulthood.
Courtesy; on the road, on the table, everywhere: These are basic human skills that require minimum effort, but the fruits go a long way. Holding the door for the person behind you, allowing ladies to pass, removing outdoor shoes when entering the house, not eating with a mouth full of food, are some of those mundane things that make or break relationships.
Personal Hygiene: Nothing is as detestable as poor personal hygiene. Some people wonder why friends shun them and why they are always alone. One of the reasons could be poor hygiene. a strong personal odour is always a turn-off. Teach your children to bathe regularly, and if possible soon after a sweaty workout. Brushing their teeth, cleaning their ears, combing or trimming their hair, wearing clean underwear daily, are some very important basics which form a foundation for a successful life in the future.
How to keep his/her room tidy: I was watching a Facebook feed the other day about a colonel advising the young army cadets on important basic life skills for a successful life. He said the number one rule was to ‘Make your bed as soon as you wake up’. He added that making your bed was the first task of the day and accomplishing it, gave you confidence that you will accomplish more, even challenging tasks as the day goes by. I concur and I add that a tidy room/home helps one focus on to more important factors. It is also a sign of an organised mind and a disciplined person.
How to manage time and finances: The two elements make or break a person. A good time manager is most likely a wealthy person because “time is money” and a waste of time translates to waste of resources including money. Poor time managers are often lazy and unproductive both at work and in their lives as a whole. Teaching children to keep time for appointments helps them avoid disappointments or being jobless in the future. Teaching your children how to budget and how to stick to it, helps them learn to plan their finances and wealth.
How to cook: As I was growing up, this was the most important skill that every child had to learn. By the time we were teenagers, we prepared good meals for our large families, every day. A child that can cook will survive anywhere in the world with minimum resources. The child will also have discipline regarding his/her dietary habits because they always have a choice. Eating out daily is a very expensive and often unhealthy lifestyle.
Technological and social skills: In this era of information explosion, technological skills have been gradually edging out social skills. Technology has its role and one of them is not to replace social interaction. Human beings are social beings and need to interact and communicate face to face. It always bothers me when I see friends on a date, with their heads buried in their phones ☹. Parents give their children gadgets with games and let their children lose themselves in the games and all the fad that comes with technology. Eventually, the children become techno-addicts who cannot even look at a person in the face, cannot carry out a conversation, cannot even ask a girl, or a boy out! ☹. Teach your children to put away their gadgets, and sit around a table and have dinner, or just chat with them.
Decision Making Skills: This is probably the most important skill that a child will use in his/her life. Teaching children to weigh the options they have, their consequences and finally choosing what they believe is ideal for them is paramount. They quickly learn to stand for what they believe is right, and not to be afraid of saying ‘No’ to the waves of influence… especially during teenage years. This alleviates a tonne of stress that comes with indecision. With this comes accountability and responsibility for one’s actions. A child that makes independent decisions often feels responsible for the results. This also builds their self-confidence and self-esteem.
These skills are simple to teach. They require only a few minutes of a day to practise each of them with the child/children. It is amazing how they can also take over and teach themselves more than expected. As Louise Armstrong (1967) sung, “ …I hear babies cry, I watch them grow, they’ll learn much more than I’ll ever know…”
To a wonderful world…