Smart Ideas: Resources Revisited

Life Skills and the Importance of Teaching Them

Life skills are the capabilities we need to effectively manage everyday challenges, whether at work or school, or even in our personal lives. They are usually taught at home, either indirectly by experience and observation, or directly by teaching a particular skill to the child.

Life skills programs are offered when family structures and relationships turn unhealthy as caused by parental negligence, divorce or any other similar issues, or due to risky behavior of the children, such as substance abuse. While educators, employers and governments are still in the process of creating a definite list of life skills, the following are the core concepts they are working on:

Adaptability
With the rapid rate of change in today’s world, the capacity to adapt is absolutely necessary for success. Students should learn to quickly analyze the situations relevant to them and adjust on the fly, while staying on track with their goals.
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Initiative
The entrepreneurial spirit sprouts from initiative–the willingness to present a new idea and taking risks to make it work. The changing economic arena is in need of entrepreneurs. Students should learn how to define goals for themselves, create a path leading to those goals, and put their plans in action.
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Interpersonal Skills
Human beings are intrinsically social, always finding tribes where they feel they belong. Technology now lets people belong in several tribes–coworkers in the office, other students at their school, Facebook friends, and so on and so forth. In these environments, social skills are crucial. And while these environments become more collaborative, so does the relevance of social skills.

Productivity
In the recent recession, the American worker’s productivity reached an unprecedented high. Evidently, the ones who kept their jobs did that partly because they produced more than what was necessary before. The rise in productivity among workers in the U.S. shows that more has been produced by fewer people, indicating that the job market is even more competitive following the recession than during its height. Less productive workers are now tagging behind.

Leadership

Leadership is a collection of related skills that mix all the other life skills. Good leaders have solid social skills, take initiative, and are highly adaptable and productive. They can identify goals, inspire others to also work on those goals, create a group where all members contribute based on their abilities, settle conflicts among members, educate them to accomplish their goals, help members fix their individual problems and enhance performance, and give credit where it is deserved.

Parenting itself could be a suite of life skills taught to a person or inherent in him. Teaching a person these skills can come with teaching additional life skills for rearing a child into adulthood.