They Like Us. They Really Like Us.

By Michael

I decided my book on life lessons would be the absolutely perfect gift for graduates this year, so we conducted a survey of recent graduates to find out what life lessons they wish they’d known before they reached the ripe old age of 22.

People who graduated over the past few years provided detailed insights into their challenges as they enrolled in Adulthood 101. As you might expect, there were many expressions of surprise about how expensive things are, how tough work is, how challenging it is to balance and maintain relationships…..

On the positive side, more than 60% of the young adults credited their parents with being their most important guides in life and a solid number still seek out their parents’ advice on challenging issues. They say they want to know what we think and they say we’ve been their primary guides.

Hooray for us….up to a point.

Because, these new adults also lamented their lack of preparedness on things most of us take as a given, once we’ve had a few years on our own. As I read the litany of gaps, I was certain forgetfulness was at least as big a factor as lack of lectures. I can’t imagine, for example, that all of us aren’t telling our children about the importance of saving, or the need to work hard or, in fact, that life isn’t always fair.

I get the feeling, though, that the lessons aren’t sinking in or that we’re not making them memorable enough. Most people on this site don’t have graduating students, but that creates a bigger opportunity to figure out how to teach the right lessons and make them stick.

We used stories and long dinner conversations in our house, because I learned the hard way that lectures weren’t terribly effective. People remember stories, or songs, or pictures, better than they remember data points, or so it seems.

We have their attention today, if the survey is to be believed. How will be take advantage of the opportunity to pass on wisdom? Growing up, what worked with you? What lessons stuck and how were they delivered? How do you apply this insight in delivering life lessons to your own children today?

Because they’ll be 22 and complaining about the lessons they wish you’d taught them very, very soon.

Michael Rosenbaum is 5 Minutes for Parenting’s first dadblogger. He is a business consultant, playwright and author of Your Name Here: Guide to Life.

Michael blogs on life issues at Your Name Here Guide to Life and manages the Adult Conversation discussion group on Linked-In.

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