MY NEW (BIG) LIFE PROJECT
My name is Sheila. I had a traditional Asian upbringing. My mum worked full-time from when I was 11, and it was important to her that my brother and I learned to be independent. I did my chores, prepped food for my mum’s cooking and was self-sufficient as much as possible. I also got myself to and from school and prepared my lunches. All this with no internet, limited TV channels and no mobile phones (gasp). Social networks were formed by meeting friends and communicating face to face, not online. I was young when I got married and, during the early years, found it challenging to keep up with all my new responsibilities. As well as working professionally, I undertook household duties such as cooking and cleaning. During my first few years of marriage, I found dealing with the different responsibilities and situations that arose with living in a new environment far harder than I had thought. I lacked confidence, for one thing, and certainly didn’t have the life experience to deal with the situations at home and work effectively. My husband and I learnt about financial budgeting the hard way: through bitter experience. Looking back now, I wonder how I managed to cope. If only I knew what I know now, back then, things would have been much easier.
My husband and I are now at a stage in our lives where our children are teenagers. Our eldest is 19, staring down the barrel of the biggest leap in her life and it’s barely registering. With social media and the Internet playing such a significant role in their lives, they have the world at their fingertips. I fear that this generation of Millennials/Generation Z don’t see the value of attaining life skills which will sustain them once they leave home because they simply do not see the value of having them. They don’t yet realise that Instagram won’t teach them to communicate or that Snapchat is unlikely to help them learn to budget. With skewed priorities so ingrained into the fabric of their life, I often wonder how they will cope. It’s heartbreaking to think that they might waste their real potential. They stand to gamble their future and lose without ever knowing they were playing.
WHY AM I LAUNCHING BIG LIFE PROJECT?
I believe that Millennials/Generation Z need guidance on life skills in addition to the academic subjects delivered today. They need to be taught how to communicate, how to cook, how to budget. Schools and teachers are under ever increasing pressure to deliver and, as it stands now, there is no standard curriculum to deliver consistent and measurable PSHE or Life Skills. There are so many skills that schools don’t have the resources to teach, but are as equally important as attaining academic qualifications.
Young people need help attaining life skills now more than ever. Its our job as educators, teachers and parents to help them attain these.