Advice Column, Education, Parenting

There’s more to life than academic achievement

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  • Category Advice Column, Education, Parenting

While a degree is still considered as a measure for skill and talent by many, employers – including some of the largest companies in the world – are increasingly realising that academic achievement measures only one type of intelligence and that marks don’t even begin to represent a person’s talent, abilities or emotional quotient.

Of course, academic success is necessary in certain fields – think physics, medicine, or teaching – but it doesn’t form the core of the skill set required to perform most jobs. That is because academic success alone cannot tell an employer much about a person’s resilience, their interpersonal skills, how they work alongside others, or any of the other skills required to be successful in the 21st century.

A certain level of academic achievement is undoubtedly required for life after school. Still, for children to become well-rounded adults, they require more than perfect report cards – they need a concrete set of non-academic skills and abilities.

C = success

Here are some of the most important non-academic skills children can learn from a young age to help set them up for success after school.

Character: Character is who we are and what we do and guides our responses to the issues (both good and bad) we face in life. Helping children build character is important because it will ultimately be this trait – a combination of their thoughts, values, words, and actions – that will determine how successful they are in life. Parents who exhibit qualities such as honesty, integrity, compassion, and respect will transmit these values to their children. 

“The true measure of your character is what you do when nobody’s watching.” – Charles Caleb Colton

Compassion: Compassion is the ability to understand someone else’s situation and the commitment to place someone else’s needs above your own. It is what drives us to be inclusive and what compels us to care about and help one another. Compassion is a skill that can be learned, so it is within parents’ power to raise children who are kind, caring and tolerant.

“Compassion is the basis of morality.” – Arthur Schopenhauer

Confidence: Children develop healthy self-confidence by experiencing mastery and rebounding from failure. While it is parents’ job to support their children so they can flourish and develop, doing things for them instead of with them robs them of the opportunity to become competent and confident. In fact, constant parental intervention undermines children’s self-belief and prevents them from learning for themselves. 

“Confidence comes not from always being right, but from not fearing being wrong.” – Peter T McIntyre

Also read: Encouraging your child to succeed – The do’s and don’ts

Creativity: Creativity is not an inborn talent, but rather a skill that parents can help their children develop. It is also not limited to artistic and musical expression; creativity is an essential ability that applies to most aspects of life as it promotes problem-solving and critical thinking. Children who are taught to think creatively and to approach problems from different perspectives turn into adults who are flexible, who are open to new opportunities, and who are better able to deal with uncertainty. 

“Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes, and having fun.” – Mary Lou Cook

By Danielle Barfoot

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