When She FACES the Real World WITHOUT YOU, Will the Preparation You Gave, be Enough to Help Your Child Succeed?

If you hold a degree, and plan to make your child get one too, I congratulate you!

However, let me ask you this question:

“AFTER s/he leaves home and begins FACING the real world as an INDEPENDENT adult, will your child be HAPPY with the preparation you gave him/her?”

In case you did not know it, YOUR role as a parent, is to PREPARE your child to succeed in the real world s/he met you in.

S/he trusts that you will give him/her ALL the tips and know-how s/he needs…not some – but ALL.

And if you know you do not know ENOUGH, s/he expects you LOVE him/her enough to admit it, and get help e.g. by reading articles like this one. And also by reading the works of enlightened thought leaders on this theme – like Robert Kiyosaki, Sir Ken Robinson, and Seth Godin, among others.

Let’s be honest. A degree really is NOT all one needs to succeed in life…

Truth is, it’s just one of a number of possible “weapons” you can put in your arsenal. That’s the truth. Many degree holders across the world can be found working for others who do NOT have more than a high school education.

That’s a good enough indication, isn’t it? Yep.

Now, it is not my desire to belittle your hard earned degree(I hold one too by the way!).

I know you ache to help your child earn one too. However, not everyone NEEDS a degree to excel in life. That’s the hard truth. And we have countless glaring examples all around us that prove it. Yet, people with degrees sometimes feel a need to defend that “route” to success.

I have an obligation to share the truths I discover, about life, and what it takes to succeed in it.

First of all, we have to arrive at what I call a basic definition of success. For me, it is a level of competence and achievement demonstrated by any individual to meet his/her basic needs and responsibilities.

To what needs do I refer?

Well, think Maslow’s hierarchy of needs (food, clothing, shelter etc). I would say those rank first in importance for more or less all human beings. Now, when my child becomes an independent adult, and is able to INDEPENDENTLY cater for him/herself (and any dependants – spouse/kids), with regards to those needs, s/he would be successful.

I see a lot of that happening here in Cotonou, Benin Republic.

People are able to meet their daily needs using their skills and basic formal education. Even those who do not have degrees are able to cater for their dependants by simply working hard at what they do. So, they are successful in that sense.

A second level of success would then be the pursuit and achievement of personal goals and ambitions.

It is a bit difficult to identify upfront what one’s child would want in life, once s/he can meet her basic needs as mentioned above. However, I argue that as parents we have a duty to carefully study each child and deliberately equip him/her with knowledge, attitudes and skills that will boost his/her ability to achieve whatever purpose s/he may eventually set his/her sights on.

We are not to control or manipulate our kids to follow a predefined path set by us. Instead, we should make them active partners in deciding what they should do, and where they should go.

And at all times we will be wise to let THEM do the THINKING, when it comes to making the final decision.

This is what it means to take OWNERSHIP. And letting them do so will make them mature into competent adults, who can function  effectively even when they no longer have ready access to us (e.g. they move to a new country or we’ve passed on etc).

What age is right for College? Indeed should age matter at all?

I think age need not matter. Instead  a person’s READINESS is what is really essential.

I’m not just playing devil’s advocate here. Instead, I’m thinking back to what I saw back on campus.

In my faculty, we had a gentleman we fondly called “Baba Oyo”. He was the oldest of all of us in the faculty, and  if you crossed him, he never hesitated to let you know that.

But he proudly pursued admission and I believe finished his degree programme in Agronomy with honours.

If my estimates are correct, when I was graduating at 22, Baba Oyo was well over 40.

Probably older.

Technically speaking, he could have been my father. Now, at around the same time, I read in the Guinness book of records that some eleven or twelve year old, had become a professor somewhere in America or so.

It was shocking for most of us to read that.

In my case, I thought back to when I was 12, and could simply not imagine myself comprehending any of the subjects I’d taken during my 5 year degree programme in Agricultural Extension Services.

Talk less of what it would have taken to do a PhD!

One thing was certain – that “professor” guy was definitely a prodigy of some sort. And people like him are the exception, not the norm. Also, I’m not sure how “normal” his childhood would have been, and how that may have affected his social (read: interpersonal) skills etc.

After years of studying trends in societies in Africa and abroad, I’ve come to one realization.

No matter how early or late you go through college (or any other level of formal schooling), the bottom line is that one day you’ll have to take all you’ve earned (your degrees etc) and go out to get a job.

That’s when some brilliant ones who finished school 2 years earlier, but have been unable to get jobs (or are looking to get better ones) get joined in the labour market by the slower chaps.

One then wonders, at this point, what the earlier rush to “graduate” first, was about!

Sadly, very few people leave college to start their own businesses. At least not as a first choice.

Usually they would have gone round trying to get hired for a good length of time, and only afterwards considered “starting” something of their own.

In other cases, they may have gotten employed somewhere, but the pay may have been horrible. Or maybe the pay was good, but the working conditions were horrible. Or maybe the pay and the working conditions were good, but they kept feeling unfulfilled.

Whatever the case, only after trying the paid employment angle for a while, do most people consider or embrace self-employment.

Self-employment is not an easy route either. But it offers much richer rewards in multidimensional terms.

You’re your own boss, set your work hours, fees/prices, and work with people you “like”.

And you usually tend to get self-employed doing what YOU LOVE.

This is crucial for most self-employed persons that succeed.

Here’s another useful benefit of pursuing self-employment: You can get started doing “something” that may yield useful income.

For instance, a smart chap could purchase a resellerclub.com reseller license for $25 (I paid $199 in 2010 for mine), and begin selling to individuals and companies.

Zero overheads. Unlimited income earning potential. Repeat sales via annual renewals. All equals inevitable success for a NON-LAZY person!

Guess what?

You only need to be able to read and write to do that business! And you do not even need to own a PC of your own. I should know. It’s a side business I do, which I intend to coach my kids to do as well!

NB: In contrast, a person looking for a job must FIRST find a wiling employer!

The problem I have with conventional schooling systems, is they DO NOT tell students about this 2nd option of Self-Employment possibilities

And even where they do tell them, they do not tell them ENOUGH.


Because most of those teaching in traditional schooling systems are those who know no other way to earn a living.

They were trained to think like employees, and to see acquisition of formal schooling, as a preparation for some form of paid employment.

Since one cannot give what one does not have, they end up passing the same mental attitude to their students.

The latter then get into the real world, and have to struggle on their own to discover that there IS another viable alternative (of self-employment) they can pursue.

Imagine if the students had been told about it earlier, while they still studied?

Maybe MORE of such students could have done their studying, with the mindset of hitting the ground running as well schooled start-up entrepreneurs!

See what I mean?

It does not have to be an “EITHER – OR” situation.

This is not some competition or battle of egos here.

I never knew I had that choice. I just assumed the right thing to do was to finish school and get a job.

But now I know better. And I’m putting what I know to use for the benefit of my kids.

Like I said to undergraduates in Benin Republic’s University of Calavi, last year (2013), I’ve told my kids to “hold formal schooling in their left hands”, and pursue the study of what works in the real world, AT THE SAME TIME, with their “right hands”.

My role is to be their guide. To give them ideas, suggestions and insights based on where I’ve been, and what I’ve done – both good and bad(or not-so-good hee hee).

Everything I know can be of use to my kids (same applies to YOU). And I support them as they individually give me signs of what options they want to adopt.

I have achieved great success in coaching other people’s kids over the past 15 years, using this same approach.

And this is why I believe that doing this WILL help my kids become competent adults, who will demonstrate the ability to successfully function as employees and/or entrepreneurs in their adult lives.

When I say “as employees and/or entrepreneurs”, I mean it is possible (and I have clients who live this way) to hold down a normal 9 to 5 job, and still start-up and run a successful business that (may or may not) employ(s) others.

My kids will be given the preparation to function that way, should the need to do so arise.

The vision I have is that by the time they leave home, as independent adults, they will look back at the “well rounded” preparation I’ve given them – with help from the Creator – with gratitude.

If you want your child to be truly happy with you in ADULTHOOD, after s/he leaves home, and has to face the world on his/her own, I suggest your seriously consider using the ideas shared in this article!

[IMPORTANT: This blog's contents are being updated following the transfer to www.tayosolagbade.com from my former domain - Spontaneousdevelopment.com. As a result, some parts of it may not work properly for now. Quick Tip: If a link contains "spontaneousdevelopment.com", simply change it to "tayosolagbade.com" - and it should work. This applies to article links as well as image links. Work continues to update the links(in over 500 articles). Tayo K. Solagbade.]

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