My family and I came to Huntsville for my father to work with Dr. Wernher von Braun. He was the Blue Origin of the 60’s and early 70’s that would change not just north Alabama but the entire world. Think about all the innovations that the space industry ushered in through the 1960’s up through today! With current technology not just in the space industry but in many facets and sectors of our society, innovation and change has become the norm and not the exception. In fact, now every day has the capacity to be different than the day before. Every tomorrow has the probability of being different.
How does a parent prepare their child for the future when every tomorrow is different? All parents hope to prepare their boy or girl through education and training to be ready to enter the world after high school or college. But is that really still possible? My question to parents is what does it actually MEAN to prepare your child for tomorrow? What specific things can you do right now that will make a big difference?
5 “Be’s” to Prepare Your Child for Greatness
The Alabama Education Department has a course of study that every child needs to know to be college and career ready after graduation. As a parent, what are some things that you can teach your child to prepare for a future that we don’t know will look like? The following are five “be’s” parents can use to encourage your child to be prepared.
History tells us that Thomas Edison’s teacher was constantly annoyed by him always asking questions. Eventually he was homeschooled where his questions were accepted as a good thing. He was encouraged to be curious which is said to have been why he was such a prolific inventor.
Another individual that would change our world was Albert Einstein. He said, “I am neither clever nor especially gifted. I am only very, very curious.” To prepare our children today for tomorrow we need to teach them to be curious and not just welcome their questions but encourage their questions.
Be One Who Always Gives Your Best Effort
Doing “just enough” has become the life mission of not just today’s young person, but much of our society. We need to teach our children that the people who are going to succeed in our changing tomorrows are going to be the ones who are giving their very best effort. The big “E” of Effort is a requirement for every child to learn if they are to be successful. Think about Von Braun – he was a brilliant man. He had unbelievable talent. The ingredient that tied his talent and brilliance together that made him so successful and allowed him to lead the United States to the moon was his effort. He always gave the big “E” of Effort every day 365 days a year.
Be a Thinker
Teaching to the test in our schools has led us to teach at Bloom’s Taxonomy’s lowest level of knowledge. Our children can regurgitate knowledge and facts almost as well as the Encyclopedia Britannica could in the 70’s and 80’s. We need to prepare our children and encourage them to be thinkers by asking them open-ended questions and not discounting their thoughts because of their age. Encouraging them to synthesize, evaluate, and analyze situations and events will begin to stretch their brain and encourage them to be a critical thinker and not just a regurgitator of knowledge.
Be a Lifelong Learner
It’s not just enough to be a thinker – you must also be a learner and willing to expose yourself to new ideas. Reading stretches the mind. Reading to many youngsters is limited to 140 characters in a tweet or text messages. To this generation, a short story is something that they read on Instagram. As an educator, I must confess that I still believe if you’re a reader you can accomplish anything. Videos on the internet, podcasts, audio books, and other innovative ways than the printed word in ink on paper can help children learn for years to come. Here is where this principle is more caught than taught: as a parent, if you aren’t practicing this in front of your kids they aren’t going to have you as an example of being a lifelong learner.
Be Willing to Fail
In a society where we give every child a trophy, it’s hard for most children to think about trying something where they might fail. Thomas Edison said, “I have not failed but I have found 10,000 ways that will not work.” Michael Jordan has said that his failures are what made him so successful. We can’t prepare our children today for tomorrow without preparing them to fail over and over again.
Will your child be a Blockbuster or Movie Gallery baby? Remember when Blockbuster and Movie Gallery were doing great business? The sky was the limit. Every weekend visiting one of the stores was the norm. Now there is a new normal and those video stores are a thing of the past. We want our children to not become obsolete but to be part of the new normal . Being ready for the new normal can happen if as parents we prepare our kids and grandkids for tomorrow today with these five “Be’s”.
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