Before a couple decides they want to have a child, there is usually not a lot of thought put into planning for it. Some may try to get their finances in order, buy a (bigger) car to accommodate the car seat, or get a (bigger) home to accommodate all that comes with a baby. But what about the realities of planning how they are going to raise the child in the long term? What principles should they impart? What work ethic will they demonstrate?
Parents, you are not just having a baby. (That baby phase is over amazingly fast!) You are welcoming a new member of your family that will help define your legacy. You are introducing a part of the future workforce that will face unprecedented global competition in the marketplace. You are teaching and informing a citizen of our country that will be a part of determining our destiny. Your job goes far beyond getting the kid out of mom and into school.
How will you lead your child from Birth to Work?
No matter what generation or what region of the country you raise your children in, there are basic principles to raising successful children that we have identified as true. No matter what.
Here are the capabilities Birth2Work has identified that all those who are ready to move into society should have.
1) Be economically self sufficient - Have developed the knowledge and set of skills necessary to work for a company, or on your own, where someone is willing to pay for your knowledge and/or skills. Starting discussions with your children at an early age about their interests, and then guiding and supporting their education, will help prepare them to be ready to earn a living.
2) Communicate and interact clearly with others, both verbally and in writing - This capability is critical to long term success in personal relationships, in the community, and in the job market. Too many employers give new employees a failing score when it comes to interpersonal communication skills.
3) Participate in the governance process - Good citizenship starts with modeling from parents who actively engage in citizenship activities. Have you taken them with you to vote? Do you talk to your kids about the issues going on in the community and the implications to your family, community, city, state and nation? Discussing the community and one’s environment also helps develop broad, critical thinking skills and the ability to communicate and interact with others.
4) Learn, unlearn and relearn on an ongoing basis – Critical to supporting economic self-sufficiency is going to school, asking questions and taking on new skills throughout one’s career. Keeping up with new knowledge and information is critical. When people stop learning their opportunities diminish.
5) Focus on the Future - We all should remember and respect the past as it provides insights and perspectives. But we can only impact the future. The focus on the future provides an opportunity to consider what can be and how we position ourselves as individuals, and our families, for success in the future.
This is the end goal. So, how do you get there?
Birth2Work's Leading Your Child to Success is an engaging, hands-on class aimed at providing parents with pro-active strategies for preparing their children for the unpredictable future. In fact, this class is for anyone regularly involved in the life of a child who wants to learn key concepts and the fundamentals necessary to support their long term growth and success.
No matter your politics, religion, or social/financial status, the principles essential for guiding children through life’s continuum – from Birth to Work - are universal.
The challenge parents face today is to prepare their children to thrive in a world that is very different, socially and materially, than the one they grew up in. When they become young adults, the children of today will face greater workforce competition, problems involving a global economy, environmental complexities, and community stability. Each of these larger issues will affect every child’s ability to find his or her own individual path forward. Relying on the classroom educational system to prepare children for the future is not enough.
While their children are still young, parents have the opportunity to support, challenge, inspire and (perhaps most importantly) model for their children the five points listed above. In so doing they ensure for their children a successful transition to the world as valuable employees, engaged citizens and ongoing students of life.
The good news for parents is that these capabilities can be learned and practiced at home from an early age. They are not dependent on acquiring a college education. (An increasingly daunting task as costs continue to rise year after year.) If parents were to focus on ensuring their children had these five capabilities before they left the nest, then their kids would be capable of adding value to any environment they moved into after high school.