No two children are born the same, and that’s part of the beauty of nature. Children are born to different parents in different circumstances and with different natural abilities and gifts. Your child may have the potential to become the greatest painter the world has ever seen, but if you spend your time trying to force them to play football or study math, you’ll likely never find out. That’s why it’s important that the educational priorities of parents and schools should focus on identifying a child’s strengths and helping them to blossom rather than driving a reluctant student down a path that they don’t wish to follow.
With all that being said, there are a few common educational goals that all parents and educators should have for the children they’re responsible for. They’re the building blocks that any child can fall back upon when they’re an adult and the tools that will help them become self-sufficient as they become adults. They might be broad and general, but we feel it’s important that we highlight them as they so often get overlooked.
When it comes to the happy accident of birth, the truth is that none of us know what we’re going to get. We love our children, and we should do everything we can to help them succeed, but the whole process of bringing life into the world is like the highest-stakes game of online slots you’ll ever play. We have little control over it – we just get what we’re given, and we have to do whatever we can with the outcome. Most of us have played online slots before at least once in our lives, and most of us have lost more money than we’ve won when we’ve done so! If we play paypal casino often enough, though, we know that a big jackpot will eventually appear. If you want your child to experience that ‘jackpot’ feeling – a happy, stable, and productive life – you need to give them the best possible odds of making it happen. Here are the tools they’ll need.
In an ideal world, we wouldn’t have to list literacy as an educational goal for every child. Unfortunately, we don’t live in an ideal world. We live in a world where 32 million Americans can’t read. That figure represents a miserable failure of schooling, but it also represents a miserable failure of parenting. Schools play a role in teaching children how to read, but the responsibility for it rests with parents. Realistically, there’s no reason why you should wait until your child is old enough to go to school to teach them how to read, and nor should you make teaching the skill of reading the sole responsibility of an educational institution. When a child is old enough to speak and identify an object by name, they’re also old enough to associate a written word with that object, and also to write and recognize their own name. Your child shouldn’t necessarily be able to write a novel by the time they start the formal schooling process, but writing a sentence or two in coherent phrasing shouldn’t be a problem for them.
Here’s another troubling statistic for you. Having established that millions of Americans are unable to read, we now also have to accept that more than a quarter of Americans are unable to cook a meal for themselves. This is clearly an unacceptable state of affairs and may go some way to explaining the country’s obesity crisis. If an adult can’t cook, they can’t prepare a meal with healthy ingredients. That leaves them reliant upon either unhealthy microwave food or takeaway food. In either scenario, it’s not a route to a balanced diet. A lack of cooking skills also delays the development of a child or an adult. A child who cannot cook is unlikely to want to leave home, as they cannot provide for themselves. If they don’t leave home, they won’t gain independence.
This subject isn’t taught at schools and often isn’t taught at home either. As a culture and a society, we’re reluctant to talk about financial wellbeing or financial difficulties because of embarrassment. The result of that reluctance is that children grow up with no idea of how to manage their budget. Handling monthly bills as a proportion of income is a skill that has to be learned, and without it, we go into debt quickly. Understanding how interest works on a credit card, loan, or mortgage is also a vitally important skill, and yet we often only learn it the hard way when we have a large bill to pay. Wouldn’t you rather have learned about credit cards through someone explaining them to you rather than having to pay your first one off in large installments after going on a badly-planned spending spree? Of course you would, and so would your child. You can also include taxes in this category. It may not be the most exciting thing a child ever has to learn, but it’s one of the most vital.
Can you wire a plug if a fuse blows? If you popped open the hood of your car, would you have a basic idea of what you were looking at, and what might go wrong with it? If you can answer ‘yes’ to either of those questions, you’re doing a lot better than the vast majority of people. As a society, we’ve not only lost the ability to fix things; we’ve also lost the desire to learn how to do so. When we were growing up, someone within the home (usually, based on gender stereotypes, our fathers) would fix things when they broke or went wrong. If our fathers never passed on those skills – which is frequently the case – then as adults, we either rely on a skilled friend, or we have to pay for a professional tradesman. It would be far more cost-effective and useful if we could handle the basics ourselves. All of us should be able to wire a plug or mend a fuse correctly. All of us should be capable of basic car engine repair when minor issues occur. Not only that, our children should be capable of the same – and you should be the person showing them the way. Learn how to do it for yourself, and then show your children!
We haven’t mentioned a single academic subject in this article, and that’s because academia is for schools. It’s also all schools should be viewed as responsible for. Somewhere along the way, we’ve allowed ourselves to believe that schools will teach children everything they need to do, and as parents, we have less responsibility as educators. That isn’t the case. Channel your energy into the topics above, and your child will be a well-rounded individual capable of coping with the world far better than their peers. That’s a platform for success.