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Encouraging extra skills in today’s children has become something parents must do. Unlike back in the day when our own parents forbade us from acquiring skills just so we could focus on acquiring education, things are so different today that education alone is no longer enough to sustain anybody in Nigeria.

There are so many fresh and old graduates who roam the streets of major cities every day in search of jobs. There are jobs, of course, but they are too few while the job seekers are so many. For this reason, encouraging extra skills in children has become paramount because the extra skills are what, very often, set job seekers apart.

Some skills which parents can encourage their children to acquire include: bead making, baking, video editing, web designing, IT skills, playing of musical instruments, athletics, etc.

I heard the story of an interview for the post of a receptionist in a reputable company in Port Harcourt where four ladies were shortlisted after the interview, but only one was needed for employment. To break the tie, therefore, the HR manager said he needed someone with strong IT skills. That was how three persons lost their opportunity.

I also remember the story a lecturer told me a long time ago. He had gone for an interview at MTN in 2004. He scaled through every hurdle until he got to the final stage in Lagos where he met three others who had scaled every hurdle as well. In order to further separate them, the interviewer took each applicant to a separate room, sat them before a computer and asked them to turn on the computer, launch MS Word, type hello and save it.

Computers weren’t common back then, so my lecturer friend didn’t own one and didn’t know how to operate one either. He lost the job opportunity.

But when he returned, he paid and enrolled for computer classes. He had lost one opportunity; he wasn’t ready to lose another.

Besides having an advantage for employment, encouraging extra skills in your children is important because they can become so good at them that they can generate business ideas from them and become self employed. I know so many web designers, IT gurus, bakers and fashion designers who are doing so well on their own.

There are so few job opportunities in the country and youths are dealing with frustration as a result. Encouraging extra skills in your children will save them from the possible frustration of joblessness.

But since children learn best by example, it also very important that you learn a skill yourself so your children can follow in your footsteps.

Children are like stories –you show them; you don’t tell them!

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1 Comment

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