What Your Teens Need to Know About Achieving Success

By mark-slade April 17, 2011

What Teens Need to Know About Achieving Success

Here’s what you missed if you didn’t make this week’s presentation for parents at JCHS.
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It’s the question children are asked from the time they learn to talk, and the one parents spend years preparing to help answer: “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
Jennifer Openshaw, CEO of Family Financial Network and author of The Millionaire Zone, lectured to a small group of parents on how to ensure their children succeed in today’s global economy at James Caldwell High School on Wednesday.
Openshaw, who has appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Dr. Phil, CNN and CNBC, revealed the truth about five “myths” of success. She also stressed that parents must understand their important roles as guardians and mentors to their children during the trying college process and beyond.
Myth No. 1: Every child graduates college in four years.
Openshaw divulged the majority of college students today actually take six years to graduate, and only six out of 10 get their degrees in this period of time. She emphasized the importance of that first year of school and cited statistics which reported that one third of first-year students do not return to the same college the following fall. She noted the huge additional cost of putting a child through two extra years of schooling and the headache of transferring schools.
Myth No. 2: The value of college is a sure thing.
Openshaw feels in today’s global economy, predicting the future after college is simply impossible. With the unemployment rate so high, parents cannot guarantee the money they spend on tuition will ever be earned back. “There are plenty of parents who paid $200,000 for their kids to go to a great school, and that kid is now waiting tables because the job market is unpredictable,” said Openshaw. She said the best-paying majors are engineering and computer science. According to her research, these students made two to three times more money straight out of college than did the average arts student.
Myth No. 3: You can plan for a job.
With constantly evolving technology, Openshaw stated that planning for a specific profession is unrealistic. Students today may someday hold jobs that have not yet been created. Similarly, some of today’s jobs may no longer be in existence in 10 years due to lack of demand for a service or product. Openshaw’s advice to combat this unfortunate truth is to ensure students have “transferrable skills,” such as critical thinking and computer savvy. “Because companies like Google are forever changing and expanding, they have begun looking for one type of employee: someone who is smart, flexible and innovative,” said Openshaw.
Myth No. 4: Soft skills don’t matter.
According to Openshaw, giving a dynamic interview is more likely to land a job than is simply providing a well-manicured resume. “People want to hire people they can enjoy working with,” she said. “Being energetic and well-spoken should never be underestimated.”
Myth No. 5 College is the time to plan for a career.
Openshaw says the college years are far too late to start planning for the future. Parents should encourage their children to explore their passions as early as possible. A lucrative home environment is one that inspires intellectualism and curiosity. “The successful kid often comes from the home where Time Magazine, and not People Magazine, was displayed on the coffee table,” said Openshaw. The more children are motivated at home, the more likely they are to adopt that motivation as their own.
“I felt that Jennifer’s presentation was extremely helpful and motivating,” said JCHS parent Lynn Gebazz-Milosevich. “It’s a confirmation for me that I’m on the right track with my kids.”
Openshaw is scheduled to speak in front of JCHS students in May with similar encouraging messages, geared toward a younger audience.