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Op-Ed

Life Skills for our Youth Today

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By EMN Updated: Apr 10, 2014 12:50 am
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[dropcap]L[/dropcap]ife is about change, and about movement and about becoming something other than what we are at this very moment. As George Bernard Shaw said that the secret of life is not finding oneself, but the secret of life is creating oneself. Educational qualifications and technical knowledge are no longer the vital factors in the achievement of success. Life skills are most important for every one of us to be useful, productive and successful. Life skill management for the youth is the need of today’s world and Life Skills Education makes a person “a balanced adult” who contributes meaningfully to society. Life skills empower the youth to take positive actions to protect themselves and to promote health and positive social relationships.
The World Health Organization defines Life Skills as “abilities for adaptive and positive behaviour that enable individuals to deal effectively with the demands and challenges of everyday life. And abilities that help promote mental well being and competence in young people as they face the realities of life. Life Skills empower young people to take positive action to protect them and promote health and positive social relationships.The UNICEF, UNESCO and WHO has listed TEN core life skill strategies and techniques to help develop in young people to prepare them for the future.
1. Problem Solving – Helps us to deal constructively with the problems in our lives. A PROBLEM is a situation or some portions of a situation, which cannot realize its purposes at this time holistically. This skill involve understating of a situation, detection of problem, judging the issue, zeroing on the purpose, finding specific causes, extracting solvable cause, and giving a solution to realize the issue. This skill will enable young people to hand their daily confusions and constrains in a positive manner.
2. Critical Thinking – The ability to analyze information and experiences in an objective manner. It helps one to recognize and to assess the factors influencing attitude & behavior – values, pressures (peer, family). It is the key to form right attitudes towards life and assists in developing responsible behavior. Our youth need to think in critical way and not criticize every shortfall of the systems existing in the society.
3. Creative Thinking – Creative thinking is simply finding new, improved ways to do anything. “Creative thinking is generally considered to be involved with the creation or generation of ideas, processes, experiences or objects, where as Critical thinking is concerned with their evaluation.” It enables to explore available alternatives and consequences of actions or non-actions and contributes to Decision Making & Problem Solving. This skill helps adolescents and youth to respond adaptively and with flexibility to the daily life situations.
4. Decision Making – We make decisions everyday and almost all the time. Some of them will affect us for the rest of our life while some changes and decisions will be of our own making that will vanish once we realize its purpose and goal. Over some decisions we have control while over some others we have no control. Making decision after examining the choices & consequences in view of one’s values and goals is Responsible Decision Making. The skill decision making will enable the abilities to assess available options, to foresee the consequences of different decisions (actions/non-actions) and how to respond to it. These are some Major Life Decisions that we make in life, GOALS – we need to develop, prioritize and attain as we travel in the journey of life. For this our CHOICE – of life style, study & food habits, hobbies are important factors. We need the strategy of COPING UP – with stress, alcohol, drugs and other factors that can cause both physical and mental illness. And CAREER as one most vital factor that will bring achievements to our dreams and aspirations. The choice of profession, further study will help in attaining our goals.
5. Effective Communication Skills – To express ourselves verbally & non-verbally and to express opinions, desires, needs and fears also to ask for advice and help we need to develop this communication skill. Speaking and listening skills are essential for effective communication. Whatever we are speaking about, we need to be able to express our ideas, thoughts and feelings in an easy to understand manner. To climb the ladder of success effective communication skills are essential component that every one of us need to foster, learn and display.
6. Interpersonal Relationship Skills – Are social associations, connections, or affiliations between two or more people Helps us to relate in positive ways with people that we interact with. To be able to develop & nurture supportive networks, to be able to end relationships constructively and helps adolescents and youth to relate with people in positive ways. As communication is more important to succeed in career and work, interpersonal skill is important for life in its entirety. Interpersonal skills help one to talk to family members, peers and others. Many parents are not able to communicate with their teens because of this lack of interpersonal skill and our youth are moving away from the fabric of family love and bonding.
7. Self Awareness – Recognition of ourselves, of our character, of our strengths and weaknesses and desires and dislikes is one factor that will enable us see our self worth; appreciate the innate talents and capacities within us. It makes one to realize how one can handle life situations in good and bad times.
8. Building Skills – Allows solving an issue, problem or conflict, without anger, intimidation, insubordination, aggressive force or behavior, negotiate as soon as possible for communication and deals constructively with problems
9. Empathy – The ability to think what life is for another person, even in a situation that you may not be familiar with. It is the ability to “put oneself into another’s shoes” and to understand and accept others. Being nurturing and tolerant and encourages a positive behavior towards people in need or difficulty.
10. Coping with Stress and Emotions – Recognizing effects of emotions on others and ourselves, being aware of how emotions influence behaviors and able to respond to emotions appropriately. Recognize sources of stress in our life, how these affect us in life, identifying ways that help to control our levels of stress and learning how to relax to minimize tensions.
Thus, Life skills are applied in various aspects of life in human relationships, learning about rights, responsibilities; in health issues and whatever we may name it. Most of us are not aware of the fact that life skills are important in making our lives meaningful. Behaviors can be changed through Life Skill education and our youth can be taught to be constructive, purposeful and productive in their endeavors. All educational institutions need to impart this life skill education to the students as it helps them develop their skills and personality. Life is not a game of chance but life is what we make of it. Let us make our lives worth living for ourselves and for the good of the society.
Fr. Joe Mariadhas
St. Joseph’s College
Jakhama – Nagaland

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By EMN Updated: Apr 10, 2014 12:50:52 am