What a special year 2029 will be for me. It will be the year that I turn 50, my son turns 21, and my daughter turns 18.
It’s ironic that I will turn 50 when my son turns 21, because that was the same for my dad and me. The only difference was that I was the youngest of three, where my son is the oldest of two.
When I was growing up my dad worked hard running the family-owned businesses. In my early life he would get up before the crack of dawn to head out to the delicatessen we owned to prepare everything for the day ahead. In my teenage years he would always be on the go at the retail shop we had. If he wasn’t in the shop selling to customers he was out chasing product and getting everything ready for sale.
There is a vivid conversation that I remember having with my dad as a teenager. He said: “If you want money, you have to work hard for it. It’s not like you’re going to rob a bank, work hard in a good job and you’ll be rewarded for that. And whatever you choose, your mother and I will support you.” He had a strong work ethic which he passed on and installed in me.
So when I look at my son now, I think about what I can pass onto him to help him in the future. The thing that has changed between my dad and I, and my son and I, is the world around us. I’m sure that my dad wouldn’t have imagined a world where we have phones that are as small as our hands, that we have computers that we can carry around, and that we can save our important documents to the ‘cloud’. Nor could he have imagined that we have the ability to interact with ease with people overseas via phone (without a five second pause between sentences), email and video conferencing. And that organisations wouldn’t just be selling their products nationally but internationally. With technology the world has become so much smaller.
And we cannot forget the multiculturalism in which has been woven into the make-up of our country – making today’s Australia a special place.
So what will 2029 have in store for my son and daughter? With technology who knows – maybe flying cars? Maybe teleportation? Maybe robot-servants able to reference Google in an instant, order food automatically online when inventory is low in the fridge and pantry, cook breakfast, lunch and dinner for the family, and clean the whole house – inside and out? This could all happen (why not, given where we are today?). So technology seems like quite a variable.
But what I know is I want my children to both be confident, emotionally-strong, successful people in 2029. So what can I do to help? I can do things like instil resilience from a young age so that they can handle themselves when under pressure. And I can give them the motivation to learn so they don’t settle for mediocrity and also so they push themselves further to understand and discover more. But these are things most parents are doing these days.
So along with these, I’m going to develop my children’s interpersonal skills from an early age. I believe that living in a multicultural world where we’re all so different, the ability to connect with people quickly so they’re made to feel comfortable in your presence is going to become more and more important. The confidence that a person exhibits and portrays when they enter a room will set the tone for how they are received and understood by the other people in the room who may not be able to speak the same language as that person.
To help build these key skills I found an interesting article which is titled ‘The importance of having friends’. This identifies pre-school educators as a key driver in nurturing and developing the important skill of making friends. Being socially and emotionally ready for primary school is so important these days, and one reason why parents give their children an extra year at pre-school.
But what can you do at home to nurture this skill in your child? Here are some tips.
- Read stories that include friendship in the theme. Some good children’s book titles include
- Doctor De Soto by William Steig
- The Doorbell Rings by Pat Hutchins
- Maybelle, The Cable Car by Virginia Lee Burton
- Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel by Virginia Lee Burton
- Practice at home. Set up scenarios and have your child try to connect with you to make you his/her friend. Encourage them to ask probing questions that may connect back to their interests, for example ‘what do you like to do with your Dad on the weekend?’ or ‘Do you like football? Do you go to Auskick?’
- Give them advice that would make boys and girls not want to be their friends. Things like don’t be a bully, don’t shout at others, no bragging about themselves, and don’t tease people. If possible, get them to understand the concept of ‘if someone did it to you, how would that make you feel?’
There is a lot more tips and advice in the article but, above all, remember to have fun together. Smile a lot, laugh a lot. These positive characteristics that you teach and nurture make them unique individuals, and great to be with.
For more information on this and many other topics, go to www.asg.com.au/resources.
The Australian Scholarships Group (ASG) are changing the way they operate, moving away from just offering education funds to helping parents with information like this that I’ve found. They are growing their resources and online information to help parents nurture their children along their education journey – seems they’re on to a good thing! Plus ASG have helped over 509,000 children in their 40 year history. It’s worth checking out more about becoming a member.