Continuing to learn

Wow, what a response!

I went away for three days on family business and when I got back the comments on my last post about what we should be teaching our children massively outweighed my original post.

This is just what I had hoped for!

This sort of response gives me so much to ‘get my teeth into’ and so many things to learn.

I have now come back to writing this post which I started a few days ago. I have so much more information buzzing around in my head that I need to order it all so that it will make sense!

Well my first response HAS to be to Nikki Stephen’s rant. Thank you so much, Nikki, for being honest here about issues that affect you personally. I have to say that I agree with you about so many of the inequalities to be found in our system in the UK and the resulting mindset.

I caught part of a TV trailer last night for a programme set in a school where one of the girls was pregnant and the boyfriend referred to the fact that baby = house and money, kerching! What example is this setting? I admit that I didn’t see the programme so I don’t know how it was played out, but…

Children need to be taught the basic values of honesty and integrity, and that hard work pays off.

I really couldn’t agree more Nikki, and that is really behind what I am looking at here. We as parents should be teaching our children these things, but I know from the experiences I have had working with my students that many of them have not had that parental input, sometimes because the parents do not understand these things themselves.

We can moan about this, or we can get on and do something about it and help those who have not had a chance to learn so far. Surely this will help future generations, even if the current generations do not understand these principles?

I know what it feels like when a student I have been working with tells me that they bunked off school, but now realise that they have to work hard at their literacy / numeracy etc if they want to be able to move forward in their lives.

I know the encouragement that I am able to give them and the sense of achievement when they say to me “I finally understand that now”. I want to be able to help young people like that, who perhaps have not had the best start in some of these matters.

But I also want to be able to provide help and resources for young people like my own children and others who have good, positive parental or other support but would like somewhere to go for resources and other information. I believe that these two areas can cross over, but it is something that needs to be worked on and that has given me a goal to work towards.

Other ideas to come out of the comments on my last post include:

Internet safety – I couldn’t agree more and I know that I have perhaps made the odd comment that should not have been made, so I will need to go back and cover my tracks there.

Thom Swartwood made a great observation:

I think it is great they want to get out there and blog, just remember there is nothing better in this world than a concerned parent, a parent that watches over what their children are doing. Communication is the key.

Other commenters also expressed the same concerns and I agree that we must do our utmost to make sure of the security of our young people on the internet.

I was particularly interested by Stephen Bray’s comments:

In my work as a family therapist, lately consulting almost exclusively to business owning families I found:

Children of successful business owners frequently are cared for by a host of au-pairs or nannys, go on to boarding school, and may well develop a dislike for their entrepreneurial parents and their enterprises.

The parents frequently cannot understand that the time and effort that they put into their businesses is no substitute for regular quality time at home. Indeed they believed that the long hours and work they undertook to build a better future was an act of love.

Obviously this is a situation that we want to avoid wherever possible and must be borne in mind – and I think that this applies not only to entrepreneurs. However if we can teach about the balance between working and living, that is a really important step forward.

I have just read a Quick Reads book (106 pages) by Richard Branson called “Screw It, Let’s Do It – lessons in life” (ISBN 0-7535-1099-5) which has some wonderful short thoughts at the beginning of each chapter as well as the information he gives about his philosophy in life.

In Chapter 7. Value Family and Friends he says:

  • Put family and the team first
  • Be loyal
  • Face problems head on
  • Money is for making things happen
  • Pick the right people and reward talent
  • Whatever you might think of him, Richard Branson has built up and run a very successful empire and his views towards the making of money are refreshing.

    So if you want a quick morale boosting read, I really would suggest reading this book – I read it in just over an hour, but will be returning to it regularly.

    I have been doing some other researching since I made my last post and I have discovered that there is some excellent information out there already for young people. Some of it has to be paid for, but much of it is free.

    As I have gone about this research, I have realised that I do not want to be reinventing what is currently available, especially when some of it is already so well researched and tested.

    I have decided at the moment that I am going to follow one of the available programmes with Lizzie and hopefully also my son, so that I can have a better understanding of how this works.

    The programme is run by Chris and Jenny Ford whose three girls have all started their own businesses whilst at elementary school.

    You may have heard of “That Internet Girl” on YouTube – their 12 year old daughter:

    Anyway if you want to check out the free information they have and the programme they offer parents and children do have a look at I will try to make regular posts about how this programme is going for us so that you can follow us and see if it will work for you too.

    I have already found a number of really useful sites, blogs and other information. I have decided to put this together in the form of an ebook, so I shall be working on this in the next couple of weeks.

    If you have any other information, websites, blog, links etc that you have not yet sent me please let me know so that I can add it onto the list and I will acknowledge you as the contributer of a link or information. I will also be emailing the commenters on my last post to request permission to use quotations from those comments, where appropriate.

    At last I feel like I am getting my teeth into something that I feel passionate about!

    There is a long way to go, but learning begins early in life and should continue throughout it.

    6 thoughts on “Continuing to learn

    • February 27, 2009 at 4:46 pm

      Hi Hilary
      Great project, and I think the ebook is a great idea. For a start, anyway! You could possibly produce another blog just on this subject, inviting contributions to make it a dynamic resource which would get loads of visitors once people found out about it.

      You’d have to watch out for spam and scam, of course, but it might be feasible.

      There’s squidoo, too – perhaps Lizzie could tackle building a lens to complement your work.

      Last time I was here, I left a link to a story reporting widespread concern about Facebook. Their terms of service seemed to suggest that they were effectively claiming ownership of all uploaded material, including personal photos.

      Well, they have now stated publicly that they are not doing that.
      “People should own their information”, they said. And yesterday, they announced a new democratic system, under which users will be able to comment and vote on policy.
      So there’s some good news.

      Young people should still bear in mind, though, that whether they like it or not, their online activity is building a brand for them. What they upload will be around for a long time, so they should act accordingly.
      When she left university, my daughter was Googled by her first prospective employer as part of the recruitment process. Fortunately for her, what she had uploaded as a fifteen-year-old stood her in good stead at her interview!

      Best wishes,


      James Woodfield’s last blog post..Attraction Marketing

    • March 6, 2009 at 3:50 pm

      Hi Hilary, awesome job on you blog and I’m sorry I haven’t made the rounds very good. For me I believe parents should worry more about “quality” time instead of “quantity” time.

      Also there must be interaction and emotional bonding between parents and children. Just becasue we spent the day together doesn’t make it ok.

      What did you do with your kids? What did you say to them? Sometimes after a day with the kids I feel pretty good until I reflect about exactly what I “did” with them.

      If they were on the computer or watching tv even with me in the room, it’s amazing that parents think this is ok when in reality, they are being parented by outside influences.

      The fact that parents allow this shows their lack of interest in the future of thier children. They are happy to have their kids babysat for them even though everyone is home.

      Quality time with the kids will kickstart their hearts and minds to knowing this is how to properly nurture one another and will help shape how they parent in the future.

      Technology is great but there is a fine line between good and evil. There also must be opposition in all things so that we can appreciate the good things in life while we experience guilt and remoarse for the bad.

      Personal relationships with others is the most important thing whether you are out here online to make money or not. It’s those relationships with others that I will take way beyond what my mortal body can stand.

      This to me is true happiness. Thanks Hilary for sparking my inner self to spend more “quality” time with my family whether this internet business thing works or not.

      Thanks also for the comments on my blog. Iv’e responded to it if you care to check it out here. I appreciate all you do and what you have done with your daughter.

      Michael J Ottman

      Michael J Ottman’s last blog post..Grab A Free Copy Of The Power Of Virtual Leverage “Getting Your Computer To Work For You”

    • March 9, 2009 at 1:19 pm

      Hi Hilary,

      Well, it looks like a lot of people are quite passionate about looking after the kids and why not? They are the future of the planet.

      I fear that if we do not teach them financial skills at an early age then they will just fall into the HUGE trap that is already set for them – DEBT!

      The cunningness of mobile telephone companies knows no bounds, nor do all the stores who offer “EASY” payment terms. Then there are the so-called “short term” loan sharks masquerading as everybody’s friend.

      Young people WILL fall into these traps because they have been designed for them to do so.

      There are TWO things IMHO that children need now more than ever:

      1) – excellent English skills – written and oral and
      2) – excellent mathematical skills.

      When I go into supermarkets I see, on a REGULAR basis, kids behind the tills who have NO ability to converse and ABSOLUTELY no idea how to calculate money mentally. If they didn’t have the cash register to do it for them they simply would not be able to hand out proper change. SAD!

      Looks like a case of the 3R’s all over again – readin’ ritin’ and rithmatic.

      Gary Simpson

      Gary SIMPSON’s last blog post..Is Anybody Else Overwhelmed and Inundated?

    • March 10, 2009 at 6:01 pm

      Hi everyone

      I’m sorry that I haven’t commented or posted for a while – like many people I have been trying, since the official coaching finished, to catch up with so many things I put on hold to get this blog going.


      Thanks for those helpful comments. I looked at the Facebook issue and at least they seem to have taken the sensible option.

      I like the idea of having a separate blog, which will become interactive. As I get to grips with this topic a bit more and get through the next stage of family requirements (still sorting out my aunt’s house, but now at least it is for a buyer), I can hopefully give it the attention I want to give. It just means that I will be a little bit behind some of the other F500. This means I can learn from what they are doing and as I am looking at a very different area to many others, I won’t be missing out by not competing with them.

      I’m sure that Lizzie would love to learn about Squidoo lenses with me, so that is on the list.

      We do have to be careful what we say online – I’m teaching ICT to students at the moment and we were talking about Facebook and Twitter, so I expect that some of them will be looking me up!?!

      I have signed up to the Cash-Smart Kids programme – Lizzie and I have done the first two eclasses, though not all the suggestions yet, so I am sure that both of us will be posting about it soon. It is certainly interesting and fun to be doing this together.

      I’m glad that this has sparked you into looking at the time spent with your family. I know that I have spent so much more time on the computer recently whilst doing the course, that there have been one or two things I’ve missed because of my busy-ness. I did this to spend time with my family – hence I have been a bit quiet of late.

      Your graphic work is great and thanks so much for your offer which I really appreciated. I hope to have my first ebook ready before Easter, but life keeps throwing me curved balls – the latest being Inland Revenue and Partnership Tax Returns for my home businesses. I can see that is going to take up a little while to get sorted out. ARGH!

      Thanks for popping over. I have been reading your posts and comments though have not been so prolific with my comments – sorry!

      There are TWO things IMHO that children need now more than ever:

      1) – excellent English skills – written and oral and
      2) – excellent mathematical skills.

      I really couldn’t agree with you more. These are the two main subjects I teach as Key Skills, which are now becoming Functional Skills (and that is another story!).

      I have been reading Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki and I was talking about some of the concepts in the book. Interestingly of the four students I was talking to at the time, two didn’t say much, one said “I can’t do that” and the fourth was making some comments that I felt should be encouraged.

      Following this line has set me thinking about whether I could do something within my teaching role, perhaps as a trial with a few interested students first. It might not be possible (comments so far from some staff have been things like you’ll never get them interested), but I really feel that I should try.

      Plenty of food for thought and study here, but the more comments I have on this the better I can make what I am doing (or planning to do) be of use to the young people I come into contact with. I suppose that is why I am a teacher…

      New post coming up soon!


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