Explorations and Reflections

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  • Mick Scott

A Partial List of Life Skills

In a conversation today with two other educators, we developed a list of some of the most important skills for high school students to develop. I think the following list, though not exhaustive, is a good start. These are important skills for all of us to develop, even us adults, and it’s not too late.


Communication Communication is an exchange of thoughts, and new ideas and thinking are able to arise within conversations. The skill of effective communication has two parts: clearly articulating our thinking to others, in written and spoken forms; authentically listening to another’s communication, which requires the ability to put aside our own judgments, ideas, and analyses. When we're truly listening, we hear what's said and what's unsaid - the emotion, the experience, the commitment behind what's said - and not just our own thinking about a couple things actually spoken. I believe that anything is possible in communication.


Habits Yes, we are creatures of habit, all of us. Nearly everything we do is based in habit, so forming positive habits and freeing ourselves from negative ones is an important access to experiencing physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual well-being.


Integrity Starting on time, ending on time, doing what we said we would do by when we said we would do it and at the quality level that’s expected from us - that’s integrity. Also, being clear, honest, and early in communication when we know we’re not going to be able to keep our word or that we’ve already broken it. (A previous post: 3 Steps to Living With Integrity.)


Logical thinking and emotional intelligence Decisions and actions needn’t be made solely based on logic and reason, as if we’re Vulcan. However, they needn’t be made solely on emotion either. We can learn to develop the skill of logical thinking, and we can learn to detach, at whatever level we're comfortable and interested, our emotions from decisions too. Distinguishing our emotions is a fundamental requirement here.


Psychological flexibility One of the people in our conversation today said this one, and I like it a lot. We bump into hurdles and we experience failure, and building resilience is a helpful way to relax, regroup, and get moving again regardless of the circumstances.


Time management

This morning I read the following in The ONE Thing: "Someone once told me that one 'yes' must be defended over time by 1,000 'nos.'" I read a very similar idea in a different book, The Coaching Habit, a few weeks ago: "A yes is nothing without the no that gives it boundaries and form."


There are certainly more (like responsibility, compassion, relaxation, humility, confidence, passion, purpose, meaning, peace of mind, and others), but even these alone were a lot of fun to discuss.


Imagine a world where adolescents and young adults (as well as all the rest of us!) have access to the freedom and security of those skills above. They might just be prerequisites for a world that works for all people and all life.


A more challenging follow-up consideration, though: how and when and where and by whom should students be taught these lessons? School, Church, family, sports? School is a common factor in all our kids' lives, and in my experience it's ripe for this transformation. That's where I think we should focus.


Thanks for reading. ❤️

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