Several years ago, I think there was a story about a wealthy man who promised a class of impoverished students free college tuition if they graduated from high school. You're probably thinking that this deal was “money in the bank” for those students—problems solved. Not really. A majority of the scholarships went unused. I was shocked by this outcome, but it shows that money doesn’t fix everything. Apparently, the students faced some obstacles that were just too large to conquer.
This situation reminded me of a book I read. It’s a riveting memoir about a dysfunctional couple whose children grew up to lead relatively normal lives. Check out the book video featuring the author and a piece of her story:
I often wonder why some kids make it through difficult circumstances and others flounder. Despite growing up in extreme poverty, Ms. Walls (from the book video) had one critical element going for her—encouragement. Although her father lived a risky and eccentric lifestyle, she often heard him say something like, “I knew you could do it, Mountain Goat!” They shared a unique father-daughter relationship and the various family members seemed to love one another.
While we may live in the world’s greatest country, I believe we can do a better job of preparing our young people for the future. In your opinion, what’s the most important trait, quality or skill we need to instill in the next generation?