Parenting can feel like a tremendous responsibility - and it is! Especially when we want to do it consciously. We want our children to be happy and successful but we also want to be sure they are prepared for the future. In this ever-changing world with the future more unknown than ever, how can we do this? It used to be that being prepared and well-educated was about having all the answers. It was actually possible to learn all the known facts because there was so much that had yet to be discovered. With the advent of the internet we have an endless stream of information at our fingertips. So what is the purpose of education? How do we prepare children for the future?
We’re beginning to realize that there is more to being prepared than having all the facts and answers. Life skills like cooperation, kindness and perseverance are being recognized as the true keys to future success. We see an increase in social-emotional learning programs in schools in an attempt to cultivate these skills along-side the academics.
Proof of the importance of these life skills comes from a surprising source - Google! A recent in-depth review of their hiring, firing and promotion data revealed that of the most important qualities in their top employees, STEM skills were dead last.
"The seven top characteristics of success at Google are all soft skills: being a good coach; communicating and listening well; possessing insights into others (including others different values and points of view); having empathy toward and being supportive of one’s colleagues; being a good critical thinker and problem solver; and being able to make connections across complex ideas."
A second study focusing on the most productive and inventive teams also had surprising results - it wasn’t the smartest people that made the best teams. Instead “...the best teams at Google exhibit a range of soft skills: equality, generosity, curiosity toward the ideas of your teammates, empathy, and emotional intelligence.” You can read the full article here.
Sharing these life skills and universal values (what some call “soft skills”) is a core focus of the Education for Life approach. These are the values and skills that give us the foundation for how to live a truly happy and successful life, whatever the world may throw at us and no matter what field of study or service we find ourselves in. Cultivating and practicing life skills helps to develop and balance all aspects of ourselves and provides practical ways to work with energy to move us toward greater maturity and expansion. Discovering and developing qualities like calmness and concentration can serve all of us, parents, teachers and children alike, in achieving our goals and contributing to a better, more conscious world.
Many parents, schools and teachers are becoming more aware of the importance of these skills but there are a few things that are unique about the EFL approach. For one thing, life skills are actually at the center of our approach rather than an afterthought or an addition to other "more important" skills! To learn more about how and why to share life skills with children using the Education for Life approach, join our upcoming 2-hour webinar on Thursday, June 10th.