“We need to prepare our kids for a future world that is changing. The economy is changing so fast and the corporate ladder is dissolving. We need to get out of our kids’ way and allow them to try new things, figure out what they like and don’t like. Let them fail and learn in the process.
It’s not a trajectory, it’s an exploration.”
In Episode 59, I’m chatting with Pam Roy, an education and career planning advisor and founder of Square One Pathways. Her article, “Social Skills are Critical for Future Job-Seekers” was recently featured in Aspen Institute’s National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development blog in Education Week. Her articles, reading list, and blog posts can be found on her website at www.pamroyblog.com.
We talk about what led Pam to create her blog and she discusses her passion for helping families navigate the tumultuous school years and helping students to discover their individualized path in a rapidly changing economy.
- Unstructured time, including time for self- exploration and socialization, is critical for our children’s development. When their time is too structured, children don’t get enough socialization, which is the key to happiness. Research shows that relationships are vital to fulfillment in life.
- It is alarming the numbers of students dealing with anxiety, depression, suicide, and substance abuse. The lack of control they feel over their own lives and the inability to connect with others contributes to this growing crisis.
- We have turned too much responsibility for our children’s development over to schools and other institutions. It is a burden on teachers and administrators. As parents and communities, we need to take responsibility for creating more time for our children to nurture their health and well-being.
- The identification and development of interests is a critical component of career fulfillment. This, coupled with strength and skills, must be explored prior to investing time and resources into a college degree. It is best to find the shortest-term, most affordable way to determine if the interest is worth pursuing further.
- Our schools only focus on two of the eight intelligences identified by Dr. Howard Gardner (linguistics and math). This narrow focus ignores the fact that individual children learn and grow in different ways. We need to honor these differences.
Ways to create more time for socialization
- Evaluate your child’s educational environment and its fit with your family’s goals and values. Consider an emerging alternative, such as a charter school, independent study, or a hybrid program, which doesn’t demand hours of homework.
- Free up time after school by minimizing extracurricular activities, such as the club sport or musical instrument your child is not passionate about, or any activities you are doing to build your child’s college application resume.
- Carve out time for them to find themselves and explore their interests. That may mean limiting AP classes or simply balancing their course load so that they have time to get a part-time job, volunteer, or spend time with family and friends.
“Each child is unique and they all have different experiences. We need to sit and learn from them about who they are and how we can support them. Create time for our family to be together so that they can find themselves.” — Pam Roy
“We are on a wild rapid ride thinking that at some point down the river there will be smooth sailing, but we need to live in the now and be present for our children.” — Pam Roy
“We aren’t teaching our kids how to understand their emotions very well when they see us trying to be too perfect. We try to shelter them or not make them feel uncomfortable when really they need to see adults who will be authentic and vulnerable. They need to see these real-life things that adults go through, that they will eventually go through, and learn how to deal with frustrations, jealousy, inadequacy, all these different ways that we can feel.” — Audrey Monke
“We raise our children as if they can only have entries on the ‘positive’ side of the balance sheet. We don’t allow for struggles, mistakes and growth opportunities, ‘negative’ or left-side ledger entries, which promote brain development and growth.” — Pam Roy
- The Whole-Brain Child and The Yes Brain by Tina Payne Bryson
- Brene Brown, The Power of Vulnerability — Ted.com
- Jo Boaler, Brain Growth — YouTube
- Coursera course, The Science of Wellbeing taught by Yale professor, Laurie Santos
- Dr. Howard Gardner, 8 Intelligences Explained — YouTube