Kids learn at an incredible rate, especially through technology. My daughter came downstairs one day playing full songs on an old guitar after watching YoutTube videos, my son edits video content on the I-Mac like he’s a film teacher. My 3 kids explain things to me daily that I can’t believe they understand so easily. (except for how to run the washer, change the toilet paper roll, and start the dishwasher, somehow those are understood better by mom) Yet here I am, a fairly intelligent human being, trying to decide if I’m supposed to hyphenate or capitalize i-mac, IMAC, imac?? (I still don’t know.)
But, and you knew there was a but…. some of the lessons they are picking up from the new era of tech and social media aren’t so useful in developing their character or success. Things like: How to be easily offended. How to create an alternate online reality. How to be judgmental. How to get likes. How to rely on instant feedback as a symbol of self-worth. How to crave more material possessions. So with all this bombarding us every day…. How do we combat these overwhelmingly present ideals without going off the grid?
As parents, coaches, and teachers, we have the power to give them 3 tools that will enable them to combine: their incredible ability to increase knowledge and understand next level technology and concepts, with real world interpersonal skills that propel them into success and build character in whatever they attempt to conquer. The youth that master these skills will be able to develop leadership, grit, and the ability to work with others while growing knowledge of themselves on the inside – not based on “likes” or “followers.”
3 Skills we can teach our KIDS, PLAYERS, and STUDENTS to set them up for Success:
- Take criticism with an open mind. Consider it, decide for yourself if it’s something you need to work on. Different points of view are a gift. So many of our great ideas today came from collaboration and many perspectives coming together. Iron sharpens iron. Allow yourself to be molded into your best self. Hold back on emotional reactions to being corrected. There is a lesson to be learned in all feedback and taking offense creates walls, not pathways. While the delivery of criticism is often unpolished, the information behind it holds some portion, large or small, of truth.
- Learn how to listen to understand and not just hear. There are several types of listening but all of them involve primarily trying to understand the perspective of the speaker. There’s active listening where you listen and ask questions to further your understanding, encouraging the speaker to continue-on. There is attentive listening, perhaps a nod or two and always eye contact to show genuine interest. There is critical listening where you seek a deeper understanding of the person through their spoken thoughts with the intent of forming an argument or to make a point.
- Express Gratitude Openly. The more practice kids get at truly feeling and openly sharing their gratitude, the more comfortable and habitual it will become. This can change the entire outlook of every interaction and event each day throughout their lives. Adults often learn this lesson after experiencing hardships that teach the power of gratitude in overcoming life’s challenges. But to purposefully teach and practice this early in life gives kids the power to lead, love, and be resilient through their positive outlook so they are prepared when those most certain uncontrollable come along. Some kids are already at a very young age dealing with some pretty difficult situations.
Kids can begin to practice these skills early on, and through teaching them we can further the development of them in ourselves. Teams can work on them together, and classes can be built around these concepts. They all take practice and guidance, but thankfully – that’s what we are here for!