FROM THE SUPERINTENDENT’S DESK
Preparing Your Children for Success
By Dr. Carole Hankin
For children who are growing into adults, having a well-developed sense of self-worth and confidence in their abilities can be more advantageous than a high IQ or a diploma from an Ivy League school. High self-esteem and a positive outlook can carry young people through life’s challenges and help them use their talents and abilities to their fullest potential. Showing appreciation for your children’s strengths and encouraging them when they need an extra measure of support will go a long way toward helping them achieve lifelong success.
The degree to which children are nurtured and encouraged by caring adults is directly related to their success in school and beyond. A healthy sense of self-esteem can be your child’s fuel for learning and achievement, as well as an armor of sorts when faced with a difficult situation. In contrast, a lack of self-esteem can be a constant source of anxiety and frustration, and a hindrance to dealing effectively with difficult situations and finding solutions for life’s problems. As parents and educators, we must always strive to nurture self-esteem in our children.
Our lives are filled with successes and accomplishments, some big and some small; for children, each of these experiences is vitally important, and collectively they form the basis for a positive or negative outlook. From learning to swim or ride a bike, to mastering the multiplication tables and long division, to earning a spot on a sports team or doing well on a tough exam, children are challenged every day—and every effort they make deserves some measure of appreciation and approval.
Whenever your children succeed, be sure to tell them how proud you are. You can help your children turn each achievement into a springboard to reach their next goal. Likewise, when children aren’t as successful as they’d hoped to be, they need your support and encouragement, as well as your guidance. Just as we learn from our successes, there are important lessons to be learned in every defeat as well. You can help your children make new discoveries from their missteps so they can change their game plan and adjust to the next challenge.
Every success in our children’s lives helps them in acquiring a unique set of skills. Furthermore, as children experience both successes and failures, with the guidance and nurture of adult role models they develop an increasingly clearer understanding of their own strengths and weaknesses—a tremendous advantage when it comes time for choosing a college major or career path. Be aware of the kinds of activities your children tend to enjoy and excel at, and encourage them to pursue those activities. When children excel at something they truly enjoy, all sorts of doors are opened for them to experience lifelong success, even when they don’t accomplish every goal they set out to achieve.#
Carole Hankin is the Superintendent of Syosset Schools in Long Island, NY.