Let’s discuss 4 crucial life skills for teens, shared by a retired Brigadier General from our US Army.
This is perfect timing, because recently in the Dinner Table MBA parent Facebook group we did a survey asking what topics were most important to parents in the group and many replied with ‘life skills for kids.’
The General, Lee Gray, was speaking at the Women Ambassadors Forum, a conference put on supporting our military women. They had many phenomenal speakers attending and I was so happy that I brought my daughter to the event. Our company, Conversation Starter Cards, put together a deck of conversation cards for the conference highlighting the speakers and sponsors, to create conversations about the event.
General Lee’s message really resonated with my daughter, as Lee has reached a position in the military that few women ever have and the title of her talk was “Becoming the General of Your Life”.
She shared 4 crucial life skills we all should practice daily and these following four you should discuss with your child.
4 Crucial Life Skills For Teens
Brigadier General Lee said that to remember these life skills, she uses the acronym RAGR. It stands for:
She said that in her time in the service, she has realized that these are the key attributes that really determine whether someone is successful.
As parents, it can sometimes be hard for us to want to encourage our kids to “take risks.” However, the key is to take calculated risks. We want our kids to try new things, put themselves out there and let themselves be vulnerable. Because with risk comes the possibility of great reward.
If we don’t take risks, we aren’t trying new things. We aren’t getting outside of our comfort zones.
Learn to be okay with taking calculated risks daily.
Practice being agile in all areas of life. Move quickly and change directions as necessary. Take action before that monkey brain kicks in and you talk yourself out of doing so.
Practice being gritty. Be courageous in the pursuit of your goals, continuing forward even when you encounter obstacles. Admittedly, no one knows exactly how to teach grit to children (as Angela Lee Duckworth explains in the Ted Talk below). However, studies do suggest that being intentional in finding humor in life can have an impact.
It certainly was the case for Navy SEAL Platoon Commander James Waters, who said “You’ve got to have fun and be able to laugh; laugh at yourself and laugh at what you’re doing. My best friend and I laughed our way through BUD/S.”
We all encounter failure. We all are knocked down by life. The key is to be able to get back up again. This comes back to the idea of the growth mindset (the belief that abilities aren’t static, but can be constantly improved upon with effort). Carol Dweck explains the enormous power of the growth mindset in her Ted Talk (below).
Share with your kids times that you’ve failed and how you got back up again. Also share with them how sometimes failures were a blessing in disguise.
Conclusion: 4 Important Life Skills for Youth Development
As Brigadier General Lee explained in her speech, the people she saw in the line of duty who were the most successful in her career weren’t necessarily the ones who had the highest IQ. Instead, they were the ones who had 4 life skills she names in her acronym RAGR:
Be intentional in practicing each of these skills daily. Put yourself out there, be vulnerable, try new things and take calculated risks. Be agile and be swift to take action. Be gritty and courageously pursue your dreams, even in the face of obstacles. And be resilient, getting up after you fall, because life is going to knock all of us down from time to time.
Which of these do you find you struggle with the most? Which do you need to be the most intentional about practicing?
Let us know in the comments below or jump into our Facebook Group.