What are the skillsets that children need to future proof their career?

While growing up, my dad used to say that his children will be smarter than him. I can’t imagine myself saying this to my children. I want my children to be smart to survive but I am not sure if I want them to be smarter than me.

I will not forget the spat I had with my dad for the last 5 years as I was still finding my way in this adult world. He wanted me to have an office career but all I wanted is to do what I like. I like children, I like playing with children and I can’t believe people are paying me to play with their children.

To the dismay of my father, I decided to be a full-time tutor. The journey was filled with lots of resistance and resilience. I had to stand firm with my decision while living with a constant guilt of putting my father in a state of worry and distress.

It pains him so much that his daughter has stopped listening to him.

Fast forward 5 years, my father finally relented. He is still worried but I guess he realised that I am no longer the little girl that will climb onto his lap, eagerly soaking up everything he said.

What we think is good for our children may not be what they enjoy or excel in. We have to be ready for the day that our children will stop listening to our advice and start making decisions on their own. When that day arrives, are you confident that you can trust your children to make the most prudent and informed choices?

How can we make sure that our children are able to hold their own ground?

1. Learn to think independently

We have to teach our children to think for themselves. We have to teach them how to reason, how to question, how to cross-reference with multiple sources and how to identify discrepancies in any argument put forth by others. This quality is so important that it deserves an entire article here. 

2. Learn to handle rejection well, pick up and move forward

To live a self-directed life, our children will need to be able to pick themselves up after every setback they face. They could be rejected from the school of their choice, peers, potential employers or customers. In this life, we are bound to face rejections at times.

How quickly we pick ourselves up and press on with our belief and vision will determine how far we will go in our career. Equipping our children with this fortitude will prepare them for whatever storms they may face in their later lives or career.

3. Learn to set goals, timelines and priorities

Having a Grand Vision is awesome. Sustaining in the pursuit of it is what distinguish the great from the legendary. Ideas are always most exciting during inceptions. As time passes and the executions do not pan out as desired, most people will just throw in the towel and settle for an alternative path.

This is when it is important to inculcate the habit of setting SMART goals and monitoring the progress constantly. Knowing how to prioritise will give a big boost to the process, improving speed and reducing cost. However, mastering the art of prioritising is tough, mainly because priorities are fluid and most often self-defined. I would think that being good at prioritising and time management is a result of trying ceaselessly and learning from the process. Only people who value their time will appreciate the art of prioritising. Hence, if one day, your children come forward to seek your advice on time management, you should be beaming that they are taking their lives very seriously.

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