Over the break, my boys and I built a four-car garage at our home. They were dragged into it by a determined Dad, who thought that spending his leave building a shed was a far better idea than paying someone else to do it. As they helped and we worked together, there were moments of harmony and a few moments of disharmony!
If you asked them, both being teenagers, I am sure their moments of harmony may not have necessarily aligned with mine. But for me the moments of harmony came when they were fully engaged in what they were doing; when they were concentrating and, just as importantly, thinking about what they could be doing next. How could they contribute and get ready for the next step? What tool would be needed next? Engaging like this, they were not only being really useful, but they were being pro-active thinkers engaged in what they were doing and then acting on these thoughts. Along the way, they were picking up new skills and learning lessons for life.
If our students join the workforce as people who are engaged in what they are doing, they will be successful, no matter what vocation or how wide the range of tasks expected of them. We grow within ourselves when we are concentrating on what we are doing, actively thinking about what we could be doing next or how we can help others in the process.
Chess masters think many moves ahead in every game they play. They consistently plan, weigh up options and develop plans with alternatives for when the opposition doesn’t play as anticipated. These skills could help us all as we consider our actions and what we need to be doing next; how we can think ahead, best engage in what is coming next and prepare for it.
For my sons to have the opportunity to share in the building of something, like a shed, is unique and now we have it set up to build even more things together. So there are plenty more opportunities for my sons to get engaged, think ahead and be creative. Just like at School, the opportunities are there in class, in the yard and in our co-curricular sports and activities as we ramp them up again. These opportunities will often disguise themselves as hard work. However, if we can think them through and think ahead, we will not only build the life skills for ourselves, but also of each other. Ultimately, this has to contribute to our community even more.