This morning, I shared with Big that I needed to carve out some time to work on this sponsored post about the National Honor Society’s goal to encourage kids to honor their futures in the present. Through their new campaign, #HonorYourFutureNow, the NHS and NJHS (National Junior Honor Society) are sharing new resources for student members and hoping to empower all students to build skills and experience within five proven pillars.
Our local schools have NHS chapters, but NJHS is not active in this area. Still, the pillars and concepts of the honor societies are exactly what I hope to instill in my kids as they grow. These are pillars that not only help kids with their futures, but help to keep them grounded in the present — especially in the middle school years.
Through this new campaign, the Honor Societies are empowering all students to build skills and experience within five proven pillars:
Parenting the Five Pillars
The holidays and winter break are a great time to recognize and develop skills so that our kids can grow to respect their future. HonorYourFutureNow.org provides tools for both parents and students to prepare for college and for a successful future.
Students as young as elementary school can (and should!) begin to prepare for successful futures.
Defining success is a longterm concept. For the youngest among us, success is usually characterized by the here and now. Success will be winning a soccer game in the afternoon, or acing a test. Success may be a successful playdate departure when a child has had trouble transitioning for weeks. Success can also be identified long-term. Ask yourself what success means to you? Ask your child the same question. And consider asking yourself, what does your child’s success mean to you? How can your child show success?
For middle school-aged families, the idea of success should be an on-going discussion. Is success equivalent to happiness? Is success only defined by good grades or a hefty paycheck? Or can it be achieved by running a charitable program? Does one need to be accepted into all of the ivy league schools to truly achieve success?
Questions like these (and the list can be infinite) can be answered privately in journals or in a group discussion. It’s important to recognize that it’s okay to have different answers — there is no “right answer.” Parents also need to realize that they can help to shape a child’s definition of success.
Academic success (Scholarship)
One area that kids can strive for success is in academics. Again, you’ll need to determine the definition of academic success. Perhaps it will be straight-As or a 3.4 GPA. Another family may strive for academic success by bringing a grade up from a C to a B, or passing a conceptually difficult test. Academic success will play a critical role in many areas of student’s lives, and not just getting into a good college. Academic success helps students to learn that they can overcome difficult obstacles, providing resources and knowledge to guide students later in life.
Qualities of a successful leader include commitment, perseverance, and the possession of a positive attitude. Leaders develop important skills like resourcefulness, problem solving, group work, listening and discussion. True leaders are those who can trust and be trusted. Leadership skills can be learned and practiced through leadership programs and hands-on experience and will be used far beyond college.
As a parent, help your children to remember that problems are challenges and that not knowing an answer is an opportunity to learn more. Encourage children to work with others while listening and responding. Some children will shy away from the overwhelming tasks of leadership. Parents can help children to learn to break large tasks into smaller ones, as well as teach them organization skills. And, one of my favorite leadership and group-work tips for kids and adults: never complain to a leader without offering a suggestion to fix the problem. As a leader, expect that of those around you.
Kids must understand who they are as they develop character. A successful person is one who is honest, courteous and respectful. Families can help develop these skills through conversation and “what would you do” examples as well as by role-modeling and role-play.
Many books and movies offer excellent conversational opportunities for families to discuss character and choices. Pause a movie at an integral moment and say “what would you do?” or “why do you think the character made that choice?”
The holidays offer an excellent time to practice giving back. Guide your child to learn areas he is interested in volunteering and seek out opportunities to give back to the community and those less fortunate. You can contact local religious communities, hospitals and schools to learn about opportunities in your area. VolunteerMatch is a fabulous resource that matches interests with volunteer opportunities for families and individuals.
As kids learn more about their community, they’ll learn to develop opinions and become stronger citizens. Help them find and use their voice by encouraging open conversations about areas of concern in their lives. Teach your children to ask questions and get answers by seeking the contacts and resources within their communities. When your child feels strongly about a topic — whether it’s related to baseball or world economics, encourage him to share his opinions through voice or letter.
Continued development in these areas will help your children to prepare for brighter futures. Visit the NHS for more inforation and new tools that are now available.
I’m participating in a Twitter Party on Thursday, December 9, 2015 at 2 PM EST with @NHS_NJHS and The Motherhood discussing how we can prepare our children for tomorrow. Join us for great discussion (and to win great prizes.) RSVP and learn more about the party here.
This post and my participation in the twitter party are sponsored by The Motherhood and the NHS and NJHS’s campaign #HonorYourFutureNow.
© 2015, Julie Meyers Pron. All rights reserved.