I remember a time when parents (including mine) told us to put our heart, brain and soul into academics o rather school text books and nothing else. Everything else like extra-curricular and being with friends or playing would take a backseat in front of academics. It was believed that slogging hours and hours into studies was the perfect recipe to become successful in life. Socializing and spending time while studying in groups, was equivalent to uttering gibberish. In fact, I remember the idea never went down well during exams and I was often grounded and left to study on my own!
Today times have changed and so has the needs and wants of children. While children are looking out for more options, questioning everything that comes their way, parents too are making sure they are into everything with them. They have accepted the diversity in careers and are happily walking the path of newer territories. Unlike a few decades ago, things have moved beyond the traditional boundaries of medicine and engineering. In order to stay updated and be at par with this new age generation, they too are looking out for resources which gives them a hands on knowledge on certain areas.
So while, academics is a much talked about thing in the lives of their children owing to the highly competitive world, the parents also realize the emotional baggage and stress levels that come along with it. To eradicate the negative by products, they are doing their bit by allowing their children to take up hobbies, indulge in their areas of interest, including hanging out with friends! These activities, when allowed are generating good results, which the parents cannot ignore.
Even research says that children with elevated levels of social skills tend to outperform those who are isolated or have poor social skills. The ‘feel good hormones’ or the key benefits of socializing by way of achieving a sense of control, a sense of satisfaction and above all, healthy competition and sometimes, feeling inspired by people around, goes a long way, in boosting academic performance.
When social skills are encouraged, children feel confident about their abilities to strike well or converse with people of diverse kinds. This in turn makes them believe that they can manage anybody and everybody around, creating that feeling of being invincible. This in turn allows them to derive a sense of control of situations, thereby making them feel happy and positive about life in general.
The fear of facing the odds, by way of difficult people banishes soon as they are capable of turning the tables because of their social skills. Plus, the children learn how to help each other, dissolve personal differences, extend sympathy, boost each other’s performance and derive happiness from each other’s growth.
Such feelings allow children to get their work done, especially the ones which require team work or group projects, again in turn boosting the academic results. No wonder, the emphasis in classrooms has shifted from individual tasks to group work. While it teaches students to interact socially well, it also teaches them the art of getting their work done by focusing on the final goal and less on potential conflicts. The key element on getting the work done forces the children sometimes, to come up with ways to resolve conflict in an amiable way, so that they stay functional without deviating from the agenda.
Such key benefits of socializing like positive image projection, becoming more friendly and sympathetic, raised self-esteem and confidence, improved relationships and encouraged the performance of students in a phenomenal way. Not just academics, the children if rightly oriented in their social life can go a long way to reap both social and individual success.
So while there are parents out there, who will abandon the theory of socializing with a ‘bah humbug’ type of expression, for the rest of parents, who are more willing to participate in the holistic growth of their wards, this theory remains true in every sense of word. Social skills are as crucial in a child’s life as his studies or extra-curricular and allow a child to hone his/her performance in every sphere
In short, as an individual you won’t like to go to an office where you don’t have people looking up to you for work or giving you words of encouragement. No matter how much skills and high academic qualifications you have, your work place will suck if you don’t have a healthy happy social life. After all, peer pressure and a healthy peer environment help in enhancing your work place productivity exponentially.
If only social intelligence becomes an important part in educational curriculum, at par with academic skills, the parents will see the brighter side of the picture. It is the need of the hour, especially when the children are more and more getting sucked up in the virtual world, with little or no social interaction in the real world around. The result is a dismal and abysmal social zone of individuals.
Therefore, as parents and educators, we need to show and give our students and wards a real world simulation right from the start. This is beneficial for their overall productivity, individual growth and also a holistic development, which allows them to grow not just alone, but with everyone around.
Watch out for my next blog, where I will share about the steps that we can take as parents to ingrain social skills in our children right from the start.