Our generation has lived through major financial crises, global terrorist attacks, devastating natural disasters, widespread violent acts of racism and the deadliest ever-recorded pandemic, just to name a few. It’s not surprising then, that we live in a time where anxiety, depression and dread of the future have consumed our minds. Yet, in the midst of all the chaos and hopelessness, the 21st century has seen some of the most rapid developments in technology leading to massive breakthroughs in medicine, transport, agriculture, communication and many other areas that are necessary to our existence.
Regardless of the challenges, and in some cases life threatening ones, there are those of us who have persevered, adapted and led the world forward with sheer willpower, innovation and a keen desire to improve our human experience. What is it about these special types of people that allow them to face problems so directly even when seemingly all the odds are stacked against them? Is it nature or nurture that contribute to their unique abilities to thrive in the most adverse conditions? We can argue that the people who make the biggest impacts on humanity, and experience great success in life, share a common set of character traits. And if these extraordinary men and women embody these strengths, then surely we can, and should, try to inculcate them in our kids.
In her book Thrivers: The Surprising Reasons Why Some Kids Struggle and Others Shine, educational psychologist, Dr. Michele Borba, has identified seven character traits greatly correlated to optimising children’s thriving abilities. These are self-confidence, empathy, self-control, integrity, curiosity, perseverance and optimism. Dr. Borba emphasises that “to thrive in a technologically driven, fear-based, rapidly changing twenty-first-century world, kids need more than grades, scores and trophies; they need strength of heart, mind and will.”
For this school year, I am challenging you to place significant focus on building your child’s character. We need to be intentional about equipping our children with the tools that they will actually use in their lives rather than just in their formal schooling years. This is not to say that we neglect their academic progress. But the chances are that when you build strength of character, your children will thrive in every aspect of their lives. In this way, you not only make them competent students but you give them exactly what they need to be competent humans.
Developing specific character traits can help to create the strength of heart, mind and will that Dr. Borba identified as the key things our children need to thrive in the future. To nurture a caring heart, self-confidence and empathy are needed. To have a strong mind, we must develop self-control, integrity and curiosity. And finally, to cultivate a determined will, perseverance and optimism are vital.
Let us all step into the new era of education; that which is relevant, evolutionary and ultimately provides our kids with the opportunities and tools that they need to lead fulfilling lives. If you do not align with education and parenting that are based almost entirely on the unhealthy obsession with good grades and misuse of assessment only as measurement, then I, as well as many other educators, am willing to challenge the outdated systems and schools of thought with you. I encourage you to read Dr. Borba’s book Thrivers: The Surprising Reasons Why Some Kids Struggle and Others Shine. You can purchase it here: https://www.amazon.com/Thrivers-Surprising-Reasons-Struggle-Others-ebook/dp/B089S7JZH3/ref=sr_1_1?crid=1NUD5ZCDZ6EF&keywords=thrivers+book+by+michele+borba&qid=1661013980&sprefix=thrivers%2Caps%2C238&sr=8-1
And if you simply just have the desire to improve your child’s learning experience but you are not sure where to begin, please book a free consultation with me at https://www.tgarcia.education/freeservices