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Sometime ago, my friend and fellow blogger Dan Tanner shared his thoughts on the education system here in Dominica. While his thoughts were unique and were directed more towards how women – not get the same rights and opportunities as men in Dominica.

One thing I’ve learn about the whole education system here in Dominica, and in most Caribbean countries – that our school system (in general) is not giving kids the basic reading, writing, arithmetic and science skills needed to be competitive in the high-tech world out there (at least, that’s my general assumption, and let’s not argue it here).

Many kids enter primary and secondary schools were they’re taught these basic subjects, but we all know that there is much more to life that those basic subjects and unless you have an exceptional (thinking outside the box) teacher who is willing to break out of the mold, your child isn’t learning the crucial things he or she needs to learn in life. It’s a whole new ball game whenever you step out in the real world as an adult and if you’re not equipped, then you’re going to be left behind.

Think about your own personal experience for a moment. When you got out of high school, did you know everything you needed in order to survive in life, let alone succeed? If you were lucky, you knew how to read and had some basic history and math skills, and if you were even luckier, you had good study habits that would serve you well in college.

Most likely you were not prepared for life, unless you had parent who did you that favor. It’s a fact, many of us screwed up our early adult lives because we didn’t know those necessary skills – and we’re paying the consequences now.

That’s a part of life, you might say, learning these lessons. But it’s also possible to prepare your child a bit before they go out on their own, and if we can’t get the schools to teach these skills, then you should do it ourselves.

The following is a basic curriculum in life that a child should know before reaching adulthood. Probably there are many other skills you can add to this list, but at least it’s a starting point.

Also please note – that these subjects should not be taught by lectures or textbooks. They can only be taught by setting examples, by everyday conversations, by showing, and allowing the child (or teenage) to experience these things on their own (with you supervision at first). Once you’ve walked them through the skill a few times under your supervision, give you child the trust t it on his/her own and to let them learn from their own mistakes. Just be sure to check back every now and then.

Financial

  • Saving. Don’t spend more than what you earn, so simple and yet very few young adults understand it or know how to follow. Teach your child from a early age to put part of money he/she receives or earns in the bank. Teach them how to set a savings goal.

  • Credit. For many adults this is a major problem. Teach them how to avoid it when it’s not necessary, and how to avoid getting into too much debt, and how to use a credit card responsibly.

  • Retirement. It’s important to start investing in retirement when you’re young and should be aware of the different options available. Also know the pros and cons of each, and how to do each.

Thinking skills

  • Reading. Sure, kids are taught to read (well most of them), but school often make reading boring. Show your child the wonderful imaginative worlds there are out there. And show them how to find out about stuff in the world through the Internet, and how to evaluate what they read for credibility, and logic.

  • Critical Thinking. Nowadays, we are taught to be robots, to listen to the teacher and not to question, to accept what we are told and not to think, to be good employees and to shut up. Critical thinking is one of the most important skills not taught in school.

Success

  • Motivation. Teach your child that discipline isn’t the key to achieving a goal, but its motivation and passion. Show them how great it feels to achieve a goal. Start them with small, easily achievable goals, and let them develop this skill.

  • Procrastination. It’s a problem we all deal with as adults (and even as kids). Now, I believe that there should be a time for goofing off, being lazy, and having fun. But when there’s something to do that we really need to do, how do we get ourselves to do it? Learn the reasons behind procrastination, and how to address them. How to beat procrastination?

Practical

  • Cleaning. Nowadays too many adults grow up without knowing how to do laundry, to clean a house properly and keeping it clean. Develop a weekly and monthly cleaning routine. Teach your child all these things instead of just telling her what to do.

  • Organization. How to keep things organized and in their place; to keep a to-do list, how to set routines, how to focus on the important tasks.

Happiness

  • Enjoy life. Kids don’t have much of a problem with this, but some awareness of its importance and how to do it, even as an adult would be helpful. Set a good example of this, and your kids will follow.

  • Find purpose. Teach your children the importance of this and show how to do it yourself. Whether the purpose is making your family happy or the purpose of finding your calling, having a purpose in life is extremely important.

Do you have any skills to add to this list? Let us hear them in the comments.

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There is a strong chance you’ve not read Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman, the subject seem to have a made it way into what most readers call “ Success Literature” all over the world. But what exactly is emotional intelligence and why is it so important? Well, the “why” is quite clear. Many people find themselves successful in all the traditional ways (i.e. with money and flashy friends) but still not satisfied nor happy. Creating a meaning in life requires strong relationships and doing so requires emotional intelligence.

Everyone knows that high IQ is no guarantee of success, happiness, or virtue, but until Emotional Intelligence, we could only guess why.

So, how does one go about creating a greater sense of emotional intelligence? In this post, I will try outline the nine aspects involved and offer brief descriptions of each:

Awareness. Recognizing individual emotions as they occur, understanding why they occur, and understanding the effects (that goes for both good and bad) they have on you.

Control. Resisting impulses and urges, remaining calm even as chaos develops, and always thinking clearly when those around you can’t.

Assessment. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses, learning from mistakes, and constantly striving to build on what you have in an effort to make yourself better.

Vision. Creating a sense of direction in your life, having the foresight to anticipate problems/needs before they happen, and paying attention to the details.

Creativity. Thinking outside the box, developing a tolerance for uncertainty, and maintaining an openness to change.

Innovation. Seeking out unconventional solutions to problems, keeping an open mind to originality in the world, and applying creativity in practical ways.

Ambition. Setting tough but attainable goals, constantly raising the bar in quest of excellence, and feeling the need for achievement whenever you can.

Independence. Living with a constant sense of who you are, making your own decisions even in the face of peer pressure, and acting despite tremendous risk and doubt.

Optimism. Understanding we all make mistakes, choosing to continue no matter how many times you’ve failed, and always remaining hopeful that success is just around the corner.

Those of you who are unfamiliar, a great way to create a habit are to do so in a month-long trial. Start at the top of the list and work your way down over the six months. Or simply choose whichever you feel will help you most right now and take it from there.

For example, to create a greater sense of consciousness you could start meditating, even if it’s for only three to five minutes a day. For assessment, you could take some time off to be alone with your thoughts, by treating yourself to a solo lunch or spending the afternoon at the park. Or just drive after work with the radio off.

Slowly but surely, you’ll begin to see the changes. As long as you take the time to really imprint these new behaviours – they’re bound to stick and you’re bound to feel the difference.

Photo courtesy of M@rg

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