Preparing Gifted Youth for the Future
How do you feel about the future? Whether you are focused on thinking about the new calendar year or the next decade, or beyond, I think we can all agree that a positive feeling about the future is preferable to a pessimistic feeling. For gifted and talented students who tend to think and feel with intensity, we have a responsibility as educators and parents to provide them with the tools they need to approach the future with positivity, eager anticipation, and confidence of having a measure of control and direction in their lives. Preparing anyone for the unknown is a daunting task, but history has demonstrated that they are certain things we can do toward achieving this goal. If you are in a positive place today, you might recall all the strategies you have used to get where you are now and employ those with your children or students. Here are a few more ideas:
- Teach the skills and characteristics of thinking creatively. Creative people have the confidence that derives from being able to generate an ample supply of ideas, the flexibility to change courses or paths as needed, and the originality to think of ideas others do not think of. Learning to be open to new possibilities, analyze a problem critically, delay judgment regarding conclusions, and think broadly through multiple disciplines are great skills to develop in our youth.
- Be proactive about your future—create it, don’t wait for it to create you. Goal-setting is paramount to making sure you are heading in the direction you want. If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll never get there. First, though, one must discover one’s passion. We need to help young people discover at a young age what field of endeavor or process excites them. We should be exposing students to a wide variety of fields, careers, topics, issues, concerns, and problems to see what sparks their interest.
- Empowerment is also a great skill for students to have as they think about their futures in a positive way. Getting involved in a local community project or even a global issue is a wonderfully satisfying way for students with high moral concerns to achieve a feeling of making a difference and knowing that they have the ability to affect the world in positive ways. Look around for safe and meaningful projects of social responsibility either through established organizations, programs such as FPS’s Community Problem Solving Program, or encourage students to create their own organization or project.
These are just a few ways to get the ideas rolling for creating a positive approach to what comes next in our lives. What are you doing to prepare youth for a bright future? Be sure to share with others so we can add to our lists of strategies as well.
All the best,