Scott Schimmel 0:00
Hey everybody, welcome back to another episode of the YouSchool podcast. I'm Scott Schimmel. Today, once again, we're talking about kids growing up well. Now one thing I don't do is spend enough time emphasizing the importance of academic skills. It's important, learning how to navigate through school, figuring out how to do school well is a training grounds for the rest of life. And it's a part of learning how to work well with others learn, how to deal with if you got a teacher that's difficult or has a different style than you that those kinds of skills can translate for when you get to the workplace. You get to figure out what you're good at, what you're not, what you're drawn to, what you dislike... all that stuff. And, obviously, academic success in high school specifically does open doors that can open up opportunities for the rest of your life. But. But today, we're not talking about that. We're talking about success. We want our kids to be successful, I do, I want my kids to get off my payroll, I want them to pay their own bills. I also want what you want, I want them to do well in life. I want them to be happy, I want them to do work that matters. I want them to have healthy relationships, and be great people, and enjoy being around them all. Like all that stuff that you and I care about. So what we're going to focus on is this question, what is success? What does success mean? What does it look like? Now we've got a working equation, working formula, if you will, for what kids need in order to become successful in life. And it's a mixture of four things. We call this life thinking, these are the critical questions, there's 30 of them, that every kid needs to answer in order to be able to put together a meaningful life. Life thinking includes questions like what are you good at? What is it, what does it mean to have a good friendship? What kind of difference do you want to make in the world? How do you resolve conflicts? Those kinds of questions that are almost so obvious, but but they're not. They're kind of right in front of us. And so our curriculum, our, our courses, and everything we do is designed to help kids be reflective and come up with answers to those questions. They also need life experiences, experiences that we're going to get into today. So I'll hold that for just a second. They need life skills, in order to go through life. They need to be able to do things like solve a problem, they need to be able to pay bills, they need to be able to go pick up a prescription, drive or manage their own transportation, like, these are life skills. There's a bunch of them, and they need to learn them. And it's rarely taught in school. And sometimes we forget, as parents, or educators, things like laundry, things like how to schedule an appointment. They also need, and this is certainly absolutely critical, they need life support what we mean by that- they need relationships, they need peers, mentors and advisors that are involved in their lives that they can journey through life with. And so those four things life thinking about the biggest questions, specific deliberately life experiences that they need to go through in order to learn about themselves and learn about the world. They need life skills, and they need life support. What today we're going to focus on is a mixture. One of the questions that we ask and want kids to be able to ask is "what value do you bring"? What value do you bring to the world and to a 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19 year olds? You know, it's interesting, as we've asked that question over the years, oftentimes, kids kind of get stumped on this. What do you mean, what value do I bring? And what we mean by it, the kind of subtext would be, we want you to experience success at an adult level. There are phenomenal things, projects, schools that orient their entire kind of four year high schools on on like a capstone senior project, I think of Sage Creek High School, which is in North County, San Diego, they do this amazing thing called the Genius Project that kids begin working on in part in their freshman year, and it builds and builds and builds until they all give a presentation towards the end of their senior year about something that they've worked on that has some social cause and social good, it's awesome. And there are so many things that, obviously, kids get out of it, if they, you know, obviously if they if they engage in it. So we look at that sort of thing, and I look at that sort of thing, I'm like -that's awesome. And we also look at the value that we're telling kids, you will have what it takes if you get these grades and these scores and accepted into these schools. So oftentimes, the lens of this question is like, okay, success and adult level, does that mean a paycheck? Does that mean academic accreditation, like a diploma and degree? Does it mean getting a job? Does it mean... what does it mean? And what I want to kind of do is zoom out and look at the different parts of our kids lives that we need to, I believe, we need to look for affirm and validate in them that are adult-like qualities, things that adults would do, that we can look at and say that's valuable. Let me give an example. My son, last weekend, flew by himself for the first time, from San Diego to Denver, on the other side of Denver, it's my sister and her husband and kids who have found him at the airport, my brother-in-law, shout out to him, I found him at the airport at the baggage claim and drove him, they went skiing, it was awesome. But all those steps that you might not think about as an adult, to pack a bag on your own. And he's 16. Get dropped off to the airport, the San Diego airport is under construction, there's no parking. So I just literally was like, hey, good, you know, there it is. You gotta go find a baggage tag, check in your bags, you got to find security, you got to make sure... all that, all those steps, those steps, and even on the on the best. So he did it. And on the other side coming home, there was another kind of wrench thrown in there. There was a flight delay, and a security issue. And it was, I think, 8:30, 9 o'clock, Denver time. And he's taking the last flight back to San Diego. So we're now, of course, these these days we're all worried about flights getting there on time. You know, we're I'm looking at what are the options- he's been dropped off at the airport, my sister lives 45 minutes away. He's at the airport. Okay, if the flight doesn't happen. Okay, option one. Option one is you sleep in the airport. Option two, can I even get him a hotel room? Is that even poss, having legal at six years old? So I'm asking him all these kinds of questions. And I've been in those situations, I'm sure you have too. And the anxiety comes up. And it's kind of scary, and you don't know what to do. But long story short, he made it back and got home at midnight. And there's something that changed in him. There's something changed about him, he was able to handle that properly, like an adult would. And I look at him, and I'm not I've yet to affirm him in this. I haven't seen him much this week. But to look at him and say "You did that very well. You handled yourself well. You handle the stress of that anxiety that you were able to navigate things like an adult can do." Another quick story, my daughter, who's 14. We have two daughters, 14 and nine, so our 14 year old daughter, I've noticed something about her, I would call it now from the YouSchool lens, she's really, really, really good at self-management, which means she understands herself, particularly her kind of preferences and needs around her personality type. For instance, she knows when she's had, kind of hit her limit of spending too much time socially, she knows and she'll say I need to go to my room by myself right now for an hour. I don't want to do that, because that would take too much energy. She is not someone who's a pushover. She's not codependent, she's not kind of overriding her own preferences or needs at all. And I have not yet to affirm this in her as well. So this is kind of partially my own, speaking to myself. She is doing something that is rare and pretty exceptional for people my age, and that's phenomenal. So pull that back a little bit and looking at these qualities and attributes I'm seeing in my 14 and 16 year old self management, self awareness, calmness under pressure, ability to solve problems, ability to communicate effectively in situations where you're uncomfortable, like, do those qualities and attributes translate to a successful life? 100%. Do those qualities translate into the type of employee that you'd want to have? Yes. Would those qualities be helpful when they become parents someday? Yeah. So when we look at I think the lens and this is kind of the one of the takeaways I think, for this for me and for you. When we look through the lens of kind of career and academic success to our kids? Are you doing a good job in school? Is it an A? Or is it a B? Is it a B, or a C? What score sid you get on the SATs or ACT? What, how many classes are you taking? How many APs are you taking? When we look through the lens of that as the "lens of success", you're going to see one thing and probably misaligned.
Also, we're going to miss the opportunity to validate and affirm the other parts of them that are actually quite spectacular. So different categories that you might look through in terms of success besides academic and career success. One would be their ability to navigate relationships effectively. Can they build a friendship that has evidence of things like authenticity, honesty, kind of healthy interdependence and enjoyment with friends? Do they know how to navigate awkward situations or conflict? Can they include people? Do they know how to have thoughtful conversations? Do they know how to have fun? Can your kids do that? Another lens would be money. Do they know how to, it's not just money management, but do they understand the value of money? Do they understand the perspective of saving it? And maybe being generous with it? Do they know where it comes from? Is that can you can you look for ways in which there have the attributes and qualities necessary to handle money at an adult level? Can you manage time? Chances are your kid, if you were to really understand their schedule, and their day, is able to manage time in a really exceptional way. Just follow if you could, mentally, follow your kid around through their day as they move from English and language arts and talking about poetry for 56 minutes. And then they translate and go into this intense social setting for five to 10 minutes in a passing period, which is ripe with danger, and complexity and stress. And then they sit down and they're in a precalculus math class, learning new concepts that they've never learned before that they're going to be tested on in a couple days, that has real weight to their future, and then they go after school to an activity, and they make sure they have a snack and their uniform and, and or their instrument or whatever. And so can they do that well? Are they on time? Do they know how to manage their obligations? Responsibilities is another way, another lens. How about solving problems? Can they solve problems in a way that you would look at and say that's actually pretty impressive. You can handle and solve complexity, and maybe even dealing with crisis. Can they deal with a crisis in a way, and that doesn't mean they don't get emotional, but it maybe it means that they express their emotion, they work through it, come up with solutions and actually see resolution. Like, can you affirm that in your kids? What about learning, the lens of learning? Can they learn things? School, of course, is one lens. But can they learn a new activity, a new move in a sport? Can they learn something that they're interested in? There might even be things that they're learning that you're not even seeing because they're doing it on like YouTube. What are they learning, and you see that kind of quality in an adult who's thriving is an ability to learn and use their own style to get the information and knowledge that they need. And maybe the last one, how are they at communicating ideas? Whether those ideas are political or religious and that sort of traditional sense. Or maybe they're able to present in a school setting or a work setting. But as you just see them interact with friends or with family, can they communicate ideas effectively, so that, you know at a way that you would think "Man, they're going to be so fun at a dinner party someday", or they're going to be so effective in a meeting, because they can explain an idea in a way that makes sense to others. So looking at all these different lenses of our kids, we get to kind of step back and say what what is success? What value do they bring, to friendship, to family, to work, to the community, to to you, and to not just look through the lens of Career and Academic Success. What this all yields, if we can help them reflect on the value that they bring, by affirming these successful qualities that they have will yield more self awareness and then more confidence in who they are. And the, a better ability to direct their own lives. To be able to say yes to the right things, and no to the wrong things for them. So, I I've got homework to do. I got to affirm my son and my daughter, because they're doing things that I'm very impressed on, and I can easily miss those. And I think you can too. This is a part of what we can do deliberately, intentionally, to help kids grow up. And so thank you. We'll be back next week with another episode of The YouSchool podcast. 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