Bringing up children can feel like a monumental task sometimes, especially when you have more than one, or are dealing with the trials and tribulations of raising a teenager. As parents, we feel such a huge responsibility to ensure that they are prepared to be responsible, upstanding members of society when it comes time for them to fly the nest.
Once upon a time, students were told to keep their heads down, study hard, and a good job would come their way. Times change. Many employers are now looking for more than good grades to satisfy their requirements. Employability rates among graduates with an upper second class degree is far higher than those who leave college or university with a first class degree. The reason is slightly odd – those who receive a high second class degree typically spend a little more time socializing and a little less time studying. Many students with these grades were entirely capable of gaining a first class degree; they just had priorities other than their studies. Employers love this. They need someone who is not only technically capable and knowledgeable, but someone who can work in a team, socialize, and can contribute something positive to the overall dynamic.
Much of business these days relies on more than knowledge alone, it requires people and presentation skills. Employers are looking for a well-rounded candidate. Someone who has more to offer than just their qualifications. Below are a few tips on how to make sure that your child is more than the letters that come after their name.
Film & Books
This may not be the first thing you think of when you think of being a well-rounded person. But despite the earlier allusions to less academic prowess in a well-rounded person, it is actually a broader range of knowledge that gives this impression. When we think of intelligent people that are admired, we think of notable professionals with specialist knowledge, like the late Steve Jobs or Professor Stephen Hawking.
However, there are also those others who are known as simply being intelligent people simply because they have a vast knowledge. Many famous British comedians are Cambridge educated and can speak on a range of topics. Reading exposes us to new ideas that we might not come across in everyday life. Read the classics like Plato, Dickens, and Shakespeare to begin with.
Films can educate us too. Historical films can prove educational and give us insight into different cultures and time periods. You could even watch anime and learn about its roots in ancient Japanese Kabuki and Noh theatre. Foreign language films are also a fantastic way to gain insight into other cultures, the way they interpret the world, and the way they portray it.
It can be very easy to fall into the habit of forgetting that there are other viewpoints beyond the Western World, but by sampling the artistic offerings from other parts of the world you can gain an understanding of the rich heritage on offer.
As mentioned before, teamwork is a crucial skill that employers look for in candidates. Unfortunately, much of your children’s education will be centred around solo work. There may be some elements of group work, or working in pairs for short periods of time. However, most children can go through their entire education and only have to work on a sustained project with more than one individual a handful of times.
Taking part in sports allows your child to truly learn the value of teamwork and putting team needs before their own. It doesn’t have to be all sports and subject clubs either; any club can have its benefits due to the social nature of the activity. Any interest should be fostered and nurtured. If your child is interested in gymnastics, find a local club, if they like building model aircraft, then there are societies for that. Learn to play an instrument, learn medieval sword fighting techniques, the sky’s the limit. Whatever interest your child has should be allowed to flourish to give them depth of character.
Another great way to help your child to become worldly-wise is to let them see the world. Nothing beats first-hand experience, and in today’s multinational corporate world, knowledge of other cultures is an invaluable asset. Don’t just take holidays to beach resorts, get out and see the world. Experience the cultures, the food, meet the people and make friends. China and Japan are big players in the global market and have a culture that is incredibly distinct from the western traditions. Those who can speak more than one language and can provide cultural knowledge will find it much easier to gain meaningful employment than others who led a sheltered life.
Nothing says ‘good character’ like community involvement and charity work. Not only does this look good for your child, but most importantly it can educate your children about the value of helping others and being selfless. By helping others, you can instil the attributes of grace, humility, and thankfulness at an early age. Being involved in bigger community projects, they get to meet more people from many walks of life, avoiding a narrow outlook on life and letting them be more aware of how lucky they are to have the life that they do. Community events also help to foster a sense of pride in their roots, allowing them to present themselves better and be able to talk passionately about the amazing opportunities they had growing up.
Being a good parent is tough, and it will likely leave you feeling drained and exhausted sometimes. However, you can rest easy when your children finally fly the nest, knowing that you did everything you could to give them the best start in life. By teaching them about other ways of living and exposing them to different cultures, you help to broaden their minds and give them great opportunities when it comes to finding jobs, making friends, and finding a life partner.