The thing about successful adults is that if you met them as kids, you wouldn’t be so sure that they were going to be raging success stories. And I get it that everyone’s definition of success is different; some base it on a profession, some on the amount of money, some on media fame. But most do it based on whether or not their kids are happy, stable, and better off than their parents.
And while we could list twenty traits that all help success, I want to focus on two. Give your kid these two traits: Self-Awareness and Self-esteem.
A lot of people succeed on a lot less. If you can give a kid these two things, it doesn't matter if they're book smart or street smart. It doesn't matter if they're left brain or right. It matters that you've given them a framework to succeed. Once any human on earth has a plan and a drive – watch out – that’s all that immigrants had and they’ve come to the US to do great things from Levi Strauss to the Sergey Brin (one of the founder of Google).
The self-awareness thing: - I know that we’ve been talking about how parents need to be self aware – Yes. Keep working on that too, but we’re shaping minds here. So enough talk – more action – how to help my kids be more self aware -- Today when they come to you about something – ask them how that makes them feel. If you don’t want to wait – ask how their day was and then ask them how they felt about it. Talking about emotions is important to kids. They learn to speak the language but they don’t often know the language of emotions.
Second – that self esteem part: Also tricky. There’s a million books written on it. What I can say is, “be positive”. When I look back at me being a father, I can see that I raise my voice in times when I don’t even realize I’m doing it! Like I just wanted one of my kids to get his daggone shoes on in less than 19 minutes, and I got that across by saying, “How long does it take?!?” and that tears kids down a little each day. Once – not an issue – A lifetime of it – damage. I’ll work on it if you will.