The conversations we need to be having with our school-leavers

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The face of teaching, parenting and care-giving changes year by year, as children grow and develop their own personalities, interests, and expectations of life. Nurturers have been there from the new-born phase- supporting, encouraging, inspiring, and guiding them as best we can – in a world that is rapidly changing and in communities that have challenges all of their own. Many teachers, parents and caregivers are entering yet another phase of (their) children’s development – that of the rather excited, somewhat anxious, highly energised, slightly stressed school-leaver!

Life, as we know it, can be a cruel adventure. So, what conversations should we be having with children as they prepare to face life as ‘new-born’ adults?

  1. You can only give to others how you feel about yourself. Negative behavioural choices are rooted in fear and a lack of self confidence and self-esteem. Self-awareness and self-respect are key elements in ensuring that you treat others as you wish to be treated. Honour yourself and never stop trying to be the very best version of who you are.
  2. Mistakes and failures are inevitable. USE these experiences as learning opportunities to grow in confidence and skill. OWN your mistakes and look for ways to find positive solutions.
  3. ‘Choices’ have a buddy called, ‘Consequences’. Life is about making choices-every second of every day and facing the consequences of those choices. Don’t blame others for the choices that you have made. Seek to learn from negative choices and use the opportunity to find ways to lift yourself up again.
  4. As you learn to honour and respect yourself, aim to pour this into the world. Use every opportunity to be kind to others-remembering that we are all on this earth to learn and grow. Kindness, gentleness and friendliness don’t cost a cent, but they have immeasurable value.
  5. It is ok to say NO!  You do not have to get involved in anything that does not feel right and good to you. Protect your energy and happiness by saying no to circumstances and pressures that do not add value to your life. Saying no in a respectful manner costs nothing.  It will show others the strength of character that you have and that is valuable.
  6. Think big! Be determined! Be courageous! BUT, allow yourself to be vulnerable and human as well.   You may feel sad, angry, despondent, frustrated, or lonely from time to time. That is ok.  Just do not let these moments define who you are. Feel them, own them, and then rise again.

Life is a woven tapestry of experiences, adventures, hurts and joys. Embrace every opportunity and choose to LIVE your best life, no matter what challenges may come your way. Happiness comes from within and there IS a solution for every challenge.