Giving Your Child the “Fish” Will Only Feed Them for the Day…
As parents, most of us try to do everything possible to ensure our children become successful to fulfill their true potential or to have it better than we do. We work hard to provide our children a safe and warm home and the best learning environment possible. We give our blood, sweat, and tears as we watch them from the sidelines. All for the end game – in hopes that they enter into the college of their choice and then, get a job that pays well and gives them joy. This way, once our child graduates from High School or college, he will find a great-paying job and lives happily ever after.
We often create this illusion in our minds that anything is possible as long as we give our children the best of the best opportunities that are a fit for our wallets. But what are the best opportunities that will lead your young adult to blossom in the world where you no longer can protect and advise them 24x7?
Are schools teaching your children how to communicate their achievements in the professional settings and during a college acceptance interview?
Does your High Schooler know how to present themselves when communicating the reasons why they deserve to be in one of the top colleges?
Do you, as a parent know how to best teach your child about resume or personal statement writing, networking and socializing without text messages or SnapChat? Observe your child around adults and see how comfortably and fluidly she communicates and makes eye contact.
Do you believe that the skills described above are important for entering workforce?
We try to impart our wisdom with the hopes that it sticks and a child will figure out a way to make the best choices when they go to college. We sacrifice our own well-being at times trying to become great role models. We solve all of the kid’s challenges, hand them the best opportunities, even find connections at the best schools, so he can get better education. In the process and at times without knowing, we enable and don’t teach the skills that are absolutely necessary to survive in the overpopulated world of almost 7.6 billion people.
More people=more competition. Formal education taught by academia is not enough. “Outside of the classroom, one of the most critical and challenging skill sets yet not easily gained, is how to navigate the professional world. Few youths are provided with the kind of career literacy that will serve as part of the foundation for a successful professional life.” - shared Elmer Almachar, Senior Director of Strategy and Innovation at Kellogg School of Management.
Reality of Life
Not too long ago my business partner shared a story that might resonate with some of the readers.
“One evening, I got a call from my dear friend and felt excited to hear her voice. I am truly proud and inspired by her. What she was able to achieve in her life so far by running her own business, raising a child, and always striving to be a good wife and friend, requires a lot of tenacity and energy. If you meet her, you’d never think she has a worry in the world. She comes across as “I have it all together and everything is under control”. Rarely, I hear her complain about the challenges that life brings. She is calm and calming. She raises a little boy who attends an esteemed private school in a city. The tuition at that elementary school runs close to $8,500 a year. And this is not counting all other fees and contributions throughout the year that parents have to pay.”
“I know she puts extra pressure on herself to look exceptional because she belongs to the community of the parents who are able to afford similar tuition. You have to keep up with the Joneses so your kid fits right in. What I also know is that she goes to a Thrift Store to buy her boy’s uniforms or clothes for her family. Her husband has a good paying job, but it doesn’t afford them an easy living of luxury. She saves because she believes that what she does will help her child get to the best school, so he can earn a decent living after graduation.”
This is an absolutely inspiring story and some of us might be able relate to it. During their phone call, her friend stated that she was looking for special connections at a top University with a very low acceptance rate. She explained that a mother of a High School senior attending the same private school as her son was trying to help him get accepted to that college. Apparently, an interview was coming up shortly, so my business partner offered to help that senior with preparation for a meeting with an admissions representative. We do this for a living, so we know that no matter what the connections are, a parent is not going to be in the room to actually interview with the decision makers. To her surprise, a mother declined and didn’t see a value in the extra preparation assistance.
There could have been a million reasons why this parent chose not to accept assistance. It could have been that she didn’t realize that the connections to a college would not substitute the need to prepare her young adult to deliver a once in a life time performance. There is a possibility that her son was already an excellent communicator and had his story of achievements prepared and felt confident to deliver. Based on what we see, however, most of the High School graduates aren't very effective at professional communication.
Invest in Skills Not Taught in School
Just like the old proverb says, “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.”
We fight so hard to get our kids to college, but we are reluctant to consider investing in the development of skills that aren’t taught at schools. Our kids then go to colleges,