Updated: Oct 7, 2022
Teaching education as a family value does not have to be difficult. Like any of our other closely held values, it is primarily a matter of repeating the message and delivering it in a variety of ways throughout the years from birth to early adulthood. Learning, in part, comes as we hear and act on lessons taught whether it’s learning the multiplication tables or personal and family values. As you see your Grands becoming adults and living out the values you’ve shared, reinforce those values with positive encouragement.
Here are a few thoughts on how to teach education as a family value:
Plan, don’t assume.
Plan activities and conversations about education. Look for teachable moments, too, but put some thought into how you want to intentionally share the importance of education with your Grands.
Work on education-related projects together.
Ask if you can help with a school project or do a homework evening with Grands on occasion. How can you create the opportunity to be engaged in ways that allow you to talk about how your family feels about education?
Talk with Grands frequently about their future plans.
As they grow into and out of various career ambitions, talk about the educational requirements and encourage them in their abilities to achieve their goals. As they get older and truly begin to settle on a career/interest path, spend time helping them think about and write out goals and mission statements. Along the way, create an understanding that it’s okay to make course corrections as changes in life and interests occur. Today, things move so fast and career planning is a different beast than it used to be.
Connect the dots between education, lifestyle, and life experiences.
Education, whether the traditional college experience, trade or technical school or apprenticeship, is a key to success in the world. Success leads to the ability to make lifestyle choices and to a multitude of life experiences. There are many choices along the educational path and we can help young Grands understand what some choices will lead to or disallow.
As I make this recommendation, I want to clarify that I firmly believe in encouraging young people to do what’s right for them. If getting a Ph.D. and being a world-class researcher is their thing, great! If going through a trade school and working in the trades is their thing, also great! I have seen successes and failures in all areas of the education spectrum. I’ve witnessed wealth accumulated under all types of educational backgrounds. The key is education allows for opportunity. What people do with opportunities, gets into many other values discussions.
Remember, every family has times when values are forgotten and failures occur. Don’t dwell on the failure in those moments, try to capture lessons learned in the process and move on. Sometimes the hardest lessons learned truly reinforce the values we share with our Grands.
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