End of summer: time to power up student success plans

Right now, our children have a very challenging job – that of being good students and great kids. The best way to achieve this is to teach them how to teach themselves.

When kids develop a sense of what success means to them and are not trying to live up to other’s standards – a shift in their overall demeanor and outlook on life begins to take place. However, the key element they need to understand upfront is that earning as opposed to being entitled is the only way to feel a real sense of pride and accomplishment.

Parents have asked me what areas they should focus on to help their kids become successful. There are hundreds of answers but none of them work the same for each child. Just like the rest of parenting, it’s trial and error to find the right combination of life skills which work for your kids. No two success plans are the same.

With that said, I suggest the following eight titled “categories” as conversation starters. Obviously there are unlimited topics under each of the eight starting points. These categories are extremely useful in developing the framework for great student-parent discussions. They are also very portable and can be discussed with their teachers, group leaders, coaches and even friends.

1. You are a brand.
2. Building a real work ethic.
3. Taking control of your life.
4. Achieving goals and objectives.
5. The secret of life skills.
6. Enjoying a positive self-image.
7. The realities of life.
8. College is around the corner.

Ideally a student’s personal plan for success becomes a self-accountable blueprint for their journey. It’s the first step in making their vision into a moving picture, not a snapshot. It allows them to begin putting their new self-awareness into motion.

This is what we should strive for as parents when discussing these success points with our kids:

● Challenging kids to begin to realize their potential.
● Drive students to think about their interests, hopes, dreams, and even quirks in new and dramatic ways.
● Provide the lenses needed to start looking at who they are today and how to create a great life for themselves and others in this hyper-changing world.
● Identifying topics, conceiving of angles, and working through ideas to convey their authentic story. Allowing kids to open up without worrying about being “graded” for their response is the best way to start developing what makes them unique and important in the world.
● Continuously challenge students to develop their inner voices. This way, students discover and identify those aspects of their character and intellect that foreshadows contributions they will make now, throughout their college years and beyond.
● It’s not necessary to always be your kids’ cheerleader 24/7 by telling them how wonderful they are and what a great life awaits them. Rather, this is “real life speak” which begins by allowing them to discover for themselves they control their destiny; thus, their success.

During conversation, students will find out very quickly that in “real life” (unlike when they were involved in youth sports/activities) you don’t receive trophies and medals for just showing up. By planning for their own success, they learn that awards, prizes, honors, and scholarships will be based upon effort and results and are not gimmees.

Finally, kids need to know that there are no guarantees in life. However, working hard, being respectful and striving to be a well-rounded 360 degree student will eventually have them accepted into the most prestigious college in the country – The School of Life!

This column is by Ritchie Lucas, Founder of The Student Success Project and Think Factory Marketing. He can be reached at 305-788-4105 or via email ritchie@thinkfactory.com and on Facebook and You Tube as The Student Success Project.

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