How to Give Your Child a Superpower
If you had the power to grant your child a superpower, which would you choose? Perhaps the ability to fly, if discipline weren’t such a high concern. Or the ability to read minds, were it not to create such waves at the next obligatory family get-together.
Before you get out the comic books in search of inspiration, might we suggest a different approach? It’s a superpower that has the ability to change minds, start movements, and end wars. Best of all, it’s no fantasy at all. With a bit of practice, it can actually be attained. The superpower? Communication.
A Rare Skill in High Demand
The title of a recent Newsweek article sums it up perfectly: “Too Much Screen Time for Kids Linked with Poor Communication.” The study it cites found that time toddlers spend before screens directly correlates with stunted development. Because it began in 2008, the study was launched before smartphones were even the concern they are today. Flash forward eleven years, when parents of teenagers admit to texting their children in their own homes to ask questions, alert them of dinnertime, and everything in between. The art of communication is almost lost. And as with scarcity of any kind, its value is skyrocketing.
A survey of 1000 hiring managers found “communication skills” to be among the most in-demand skills of any new hire. Not coding, not engineering, just plain old communication. By honing the dying art of communication, you’re equipping your child with a truly lucrative ability.
Truly Magical Powers
There’s a reason communication is the sought-after skill that it is. More than a sign of mere professionalism, being able to convey an idea to another person is essential to success in almost any arena. Just consider a few of the diverse achievements that rely on speaking, writing, or both:
Pitching an investor
Writing a hit song
Inspiring a sports team
Winning a voter’s support
Earning a social media following
Nearly any dream, vision, or plan your child may have is dependent on clear, effective, and powerful communication. So how can you strengthen that muscle?
Practice Makes Perfect
The best communicators in the world have something most of us don’t but could: experience. In other words, they’ve had lots and lots of practice. The 10,000-hour rule made famous by Malcolm Gladwell is true for communication, too. And the good news is that we all spend so much time communicating every day that such a massive amount of practice is actually attainable (so long as we’re practicing good habits).
The best communicators are voracious readers. Books show us how to use words without admitting that they’re teaching us. Encourage your child to read regardless of genre or perceived educational value. If it’s well-written, it will have a possible impact on their communication skills. And if they love it, they’re more likely to stick with it.
Public Speaking Clubs
Want to get serious? Public speaking groups like Toastmasters give members weekly chances to practice humanity’s greatest fear. The fees are nominal, and groups meet in neighborhoods across the country. Plus, listing your membership on your resume will tell employers that you take communication seriously.
In addition to the formal communication skills that public speaking classes teach, understanding the finer art of personal communication is just as vital—and growing even more rare. Groups that encourage public service, such as Scouts, offer regular interaction with the public. With every cookie sold or senior served, an opportunity to learn the art of personal communication is granted.
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