“No man is an island.” – John Donne.
Because of this, how we treat people, how we handle people and how we related to others can make all the difference to our lives. If we could exist without the help of others, then intelligence alone would suffice. Since we cannot, EQ (emotional quotient) is the new IQ for predicting future success, and it basically amounts to people skills.
Google “people skills” and the number of self-help resources and businesses focussing on these skills alone should be an indication of the value on individuals with good people skills. Just like thinking skills, some children naturally acquire them while others need to be taught. Therefore, teach your children good people skills and it will go a long way towards ensuring their future success.
Many of these skills are part of the social graces that all children should be learning anyway, such as manners, kindness, respect, tolerance, empathy, listening, compromise and cooperation. However, to see the way some adults behave, one has to wonder if they were ever taught these while they were growing up or if they simply forgot them along the way. Perhaps the old style finishing schools for girls should be brought back and made compulsory for all children?
Even if the future success of our children weren’t a factor for consideration, the teaching of social graces should be a necessary part of every child’s educational curriculum.
How do we teach our children people skills?
Young children learn best through modelling – first, by observing the behaviour in action followed by the chance to act out the behaviour either through role playing or with real life practice. As parents, we are the primary models for our children’s behaviour so it helps to practice what we preach. This not only teaches our children how to treat others, but they will also benefit from receiving this attention from us.
Reading and listening to moral stories and books on character development can also help teach children about these skills. Further discussions with our children will help to cement these philosophies.
Additionally, it has also been observed that children who learn Sign Language and Music tend to be more perceptive towards other people. Sign Language teaches children to be more aware of body language, while Sign Language and learning a musical instrument teaches children to be more discerning to non-verbal cues.
More books on people skills:
- How to Win Friends and Influence People – by Dale Carnegie is an old book often used by individuals in business nevertheless, the lessons covered are equally relevant to all situations in life.
- The Fish Philosophy covers more than people skills, but the message on attitude and play are no less important. Even if the only people skills our children embrace is to “be there” and “make someone’s day”, it will be enough to make a difference to their lives. I like the Fish Philosophy for children because it’s short and sweet which makes it easy to teach and easy to remember. Young children rarely have the attention span to listen to long, abstract lessons anyway.
What is the Fish Philosophy?
- Be There
- Make Their Day
- Choose Your Attitude