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Ten Themes Everyone Should Live By

We couldn’t help but notice the parallels of 10 Things That Likable People Do Consistently to Thanksgiving, which is soon upon us. No, we’re not talking about stuffing and football, but random acts of kindness and feeling thankful. Happiness is contagious!

This time of year naturally brings together reunions with summer friends and extended family members. It’s important to make positive impressions with those you haven’t seen in a while. Be sure to ask how they’re doing, how you might help them; rather than start with a challenge you are experiencing. Parents, students, friends, and teens alike can all find ways to change their daily routine with these 10 likable traits:

1. Listen without interrupting
2. Smile without smirking
3. Speak without dictating
4. Give without receiving
5. Enjoy without complaining
6. Trust without wavering
7. Promise without forgetting
8. Forgive without punishing
9. Be honest without deceiving
10. Be positive without reservation

We challenge you (no ice buckets this time) to slowly implement each of these likable traits to your daily routine. See how your family members, co-workers and peers respond back. We predict that your patience and generosity will spread. Stay true to your promises. Speak as an equal. Listen more intently. Smile widely.

You might be surprised how quickly you’ll see a change; and how much happier you will be.

Saving Your Kids From Mediocrity

This Today Show segment caught our eyes. It highlights the controversial parenting decision made by David and Jill Fagan, parents of 8 children who reside in Southern California. Here’s why they argue their kids should pay for college on their own and how it’ll transform their children into entrepreneurs.

• Appreciation

Students who pay for their own education value it more because it comes from their hard earned money. It will enrich their experience even more.

• Why Pay To Party?

These parents believe their children are capable of having a successful career without paying for a typical 4 year institution. So if they’re just going to college to have fun, why should it be on their dime?

• Children Are Growing Up Slowly

David & Jill think that if the child doesn’t take on financial responsibilities at a young age, they’ll become sheltered, co-dependent, and back home after graduation.

Here are other lifestyle choices the Fagan’s make in order to avoid mediocrity for their children’s futures.

• Teach self reliance
• Let your kids fail
• Don’t rescue your children
• Love your children no matter what

We find this topic to be very fascinating. First, these lifestyle choices reflect parenting options. We come from the perspective that skinning your knees when young, trial and error, building grit and resilience and kids having skin in the game (i.e. earning money to pay for some of their activities, or spending money for summer programs) only leads to more independence and confidence to navigate life.

Second, in today’s job market, many recent college graduates are getting jobs that don’t require a diploma or complement the major they pursued. However, as noted in the Today Show video, Americans with degrees from 4 year college institutions make 98% more an hour than those without. Although David Fagan is a perfect example of someone who’s been able to have a successful career without a college education, as he’s a self-made entrepreneur.

So what do you think? Are these parents doing a disservice? Or are they saving their children from mediocrity by motivating them to start working early in life to pave their future path?

Purposeful Play

In reading this NY Times article today on the building blocks of a good pre-k, the core benefits of purposeful play jump out at me as not exclusive to these young children. Purposeful play is the cornerstone of what camp provides children.

“As they play, children develop vital cognitive, linguistic, social and emotional skills. They make discoveries, build knowledge, experiment with literacy and math and learn to self-regulate and interact with others in socially appropriate ways. Play is also fun and interesting, which makes school a place where children look forward to spending their time. It is so deeply formative for children that it must be at the core of our early childhood curriculum.”

Isn’t this what camp offers in an intentional manner?

And unfortunately in today’s world, schools have ever increasing pressure to teach academics so that even third graders perform well on standardized tests. Recess is either gone or very short in duration, and arts are often cut from school budgets. We need to work toward getting as many children to camp as possible so their social, emotional, discovery and collaborative skills are optimized.

Summer & Camp Lessons for The School Year

It seems that summer unofficially ended and school started within days of one another this year. Normally we all have a few weeks between the two. It barely gave us enough time to decompress and transition back to school and regular home life.

But let’s focus on what we hope everyone learned from their summer experiences and how those lessons can give us clarity, focus and a leg up as the new school year starts for everyone.

  • Pack Up Summer Physically – my colleague, Barbara Reich, professional organizer and Founder of Resourceful Consultants, recommends if summer clothing is stained or damaged, discard. Store reusable camp items separately from regular storage to facilitate retrieval and future packing.
  • Pack Up Summer Emotionally – be patient; your one million questions will eventually be addressed (or no longer be that important) over time. Summer friends are really additional siblings to your kids/teens. Encourage them to keep those connections central in their lives.
  • Use the Summer Tool Box to Maximize School and Home Success – don’t regress and fall prey to old habits; your kids absolutely became more independent, and you should continue to reinforce these new behaviors at home. Encourage them to leverage their stronger problem resolution skills to think through challenges in the coming school year.
  • Write the Summer Essay & Teen Resume – document their experiences while memories are fresh; epiphanies and accomplishments are hard to recall months or years later for college applications. And obtain any summer recommendations while adults remember your teen.
  • Establish Family Communications Meetings – everyone is busy. Central schedules are great. But remember how your child/teen did not have access to regular technology during the summer, and they had ‘family’ meals, where everyone shared what they did and was on their mind? Continue this at home. Consistent, in-person family time is the best way to stay involved and support your child and teen’s positive development.

Summer Job? Put that Money Away Now

I’m all for kids getting summer jobs. Especially teens. Between learning to value a dollar, combat entitlement, and help with the incredible cost of college, it is needed. And turning a job into a year-round opportunity expands the value and learning, if schedules permit.

So when I read my colleague, Ron Lieber’s recent NY Times article on starting a Roth IRA, I was prompted to chime in with some of my own thoughts.

Sit down with your kids and tell them how much work it takes to earn money to pay for life’s essentials, then the ‘want’ items they request. To educate them; what parents forfeit to provide for their kids – but not with guilt.

Share financial 101 lessons and have them start investing. Now. It is never too early. Help them make their own decisions; the losses and gains will resonate more with them.

Have them set goals. Have them use part of their savings to pay for next summer’s adventure. Be it $50 or $100 towards camp canteen; spending money for their teen trip or experience. Have them set realistic benchmarks. Have them ask grandparents and relatives to support them with financial gifts to meet their goals. Nothing like having skin in the game.

Never looked for a job yet? Expose them to resources; let them get creative. Just letting others know they might be available to assist can open up numerous opportunities. And the first job leads to the next one, internships, career exploration and more.

Kids and teens today do understand that life is expensive. But many need to understand what that means to you and your family.

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