These thoughts have snuck into my head recently because I have been noticing many young adults who totally lack these basic skills. If you walk into a fast food restaurant or interact with a recent graduate in the workforce; chances are you will understand what I am saying.
It is our responsibility, as parents, to ensure our kids are ready to succeed in life. Here are five things I wish all parents would take the time to teach their children:
1) Eye Contact, Smiling, and Basic Communication
When I used to manage a bank branch, I had the opportunity to interview a number of young adults for entry level positions. It was amazing how many college graduates would come to the interview with stoic looks, make minimal eye contact, and not be able to hold a meaningful conversation.
These are basic communication skills we must teach our children. It makes the work force better, life better, and the world a better place. A great book to help learn these skills is, “How to Win Friends and Influence People.”
Please have your children read that!
Habits start young. I remember when I was in grade school, my desk was a mess and unorganized. Those habits have followed me to this day and guess what…I still struggle with organization! However, I loved to read when I was younger and that is still a habit I keep today.
If we teach our children good habits at a young age, they will carry these habits for life. Teach them to think positively, to stay creative, to continue to learn, and to be confident. Check out James Altucher’s daily habits…just teach your kids habits that will help them in life.
William James said it best, “All our life, so far as it has definite form, is but a mass of habits – practical, emotional, and intellectual – systematically organized for our weal or woe, and bearing us irresistibly toward our destiny, whatever the latter may be.”
3) Exceed Expectations
If I ever hear someone say, “but that’s not in my job description” again, I may lose it. Employers don’t care if it’s not in your job description…if it’s not illegal or immoral then just do it.
Too many people come to work and expect to do the bare minimum. We need to teach our children to go above and beyond. If you teach children to exceed expectations then they will succeed in life.
4) Take Initiative
A few days ago I was at a fast food restaurant with my kids. The majority of tables were dirty, so I got our food and wiped off a table for us to sit down. The manager came out from the back and apologized because I had cleaned it up (and I didn’t even complain).
As I was getting napkins, I over heard him ask a teenager (who had been standing in the same spot doing nothing since we walked in) why he didn’t wipe off the tables. His answer was no asked him to wipe off the tables.
Maybe this is an extreme example, but I see it over and over again. As poet Victor Hugo said, “Initiative is doing the right thing without being told.” Teach your children to take initiative and they will be ahead of 90% of the people.
Unfortunately, I see young people give up way too easily. Some of the greatest stories in American history are built on perseverance. We need to teach our children when they fail it’s ok, but to keep going.
Teach them the stories of Thomas Edison, Michael Jordan, and Walt Disney. Or even Gone with the Wind because it was rejected 38 times! The point is to teach them to keep on going!
If we can teach our children these skills, the sky is the limit for them!