The “North Star” skill that is missing from every parenting book…

The “North Star” skill that is missing from every parenting book…


I’ve read hundreds, if not thousands of articles, videos, and books on parenting since we had our child. I’m always searching for that new nugget of information or research breakthrough that can help me become a better father, parent, or husband.
Unfortunately, most articles all say the same thing over and over...
Teach discipline and social skills. Read daily and start math early. Be engaged, show love, and establish authority. Build leadership and grit. Value effort over avoiding failure. Encourage creativeness, independence, and thinking outside the box. Instill healthy eating habits and an active lifestyle. Set high expectations and reinforce them positively. Build confidence, self-esteem, and kindness. Establish a soft spot for the “under dog” and show compassion. Say please and thank you until it is second nature. Set principles such as never giving up, anger management, patience, and bringing your best every time.
The list goes on and on. I’m sure if you are reading this article, you’ve read those articles. They are great. I personally aspire to instill each of them in my daughter. 
They aren’t enough… There is one missing … It is a big one … I’ve yet to find it in all those books, articles, discussions, and expert videos. If it does exist, it is certainly not valued nearly enough. 
This one key skill can inspire, unlock the path, and provide a North Star for any goal, no matter the size. 
In my opinion, it is the game changer. If your child doesn’t have it, all the other skills will be limited. Not convinced? Let’s discuss.
- Discipline, grit, effort, and never give up personality traits are great when there is progress. However, running into a wall with those skills will become the definition of insanity.
- Good manners, compassion, social skills, patience are fantastic skills. They make for a good person. This should absolutely be an aspiration. However, there are many good people that don’t find success and reach their goals of success.
- Reading, mathematics, and overall education are certainly table stake skills. They provide knowledge and perspective. Allow analysis and critical thought about a problem. However, there are many voracious readers, analytical minded, or highly educated people who never reach their goals of success.
- Active and healthy lifestyles should be must have habits. It will provide the energy, health, and stamina for the marathon run of life. However, there are many health and active people that are essentially running on a life treadmill. Lots of activity, little forward progress.
- Leadership is one of the best skills anyone can build. However, there are many leaders who have led their teams, organizations, and or in some cases countries to failure. Inspiring people to follow and getting them to the destination are two distinct steps.

    What is this skill that can maximize the value and enable all the above skills we are encouraged to instill in our children?

    Reverse Engineering - The ability to take any goal and break it down into an actionable step by step road-map of activities that if accomplished, will achieve the target goal. This one skill will enable your child to take any reasonable goal and turn it to life through deliberate actions.

    We can use an athletic scholarship as an illustrative example. 
    Many people take the normal first step to sign up, learn the game, and start playing. This makes common sense. If you don’t start, you’ll never get there.
    However, a better way would be to start with asking a few key questions to establish what is needed to achieve the goal:
    - How many college scholarships are out there?
    - How many high-school players are there?
    - What are the key skills that separate the kids who get scholarships from the ones that don’t?
    - What did scholarship recipients do to achieve the goal?

      Unless the goal is something that mankind has never done, encourage your child to interview a few people who have achieved the goal. There is no reason to recreate the wheel. This will be discussed in another post. What did they do? What would they have done differently? What would they recommend?
      This critical step is the start of reverse engineering a goal. Answering the above questions establishes a set of skills and abilities that will be required to earn the scholarship. The ratio of high-school players to college scholarships will establish the goal will take grit, discipline, focus, and other skills we have read in other parenting articles.
      Next is the question – In order to gain these skills and abilities by the time they graduate high-school, what steps do they need to take? Depending on your child’s age and current skill level, their answers will be different. At the end of the day, when they want to accomplish a goal, there will be a set of required activities and deadlines to achieve them. The earlier they learn that in life, the better prepared they will be.
      The answers to these questions will drive answers to questions such as –
      - How many days a week do they need to practice?
      - What teams do they need to participate on?
      - When I practice, what skills do they need to work on?
      - What are the drills that can develop those skills?
      - How do they measure progress against those skills?

      The reverse engineering process goes until your child has developed a day to day plan that traces directly to their goal. It will provide a measurable path to achieve the goal and monitor progression. It enables them to “adjust the sails” if one skill lags another. It sets direction and enables inspiration that they are on the right path toward their goal.
      Reverse engineering is a skill that can be leveraged into every part of life. Your children will able to use it to accomplish daily goals, build better relationships, achieve career success, and anything else they set out to do.
      If you haven’t started focusing on this skill, reverse engineer your plan to build it! No pun intended… You won’t regret it.
      The Dad Corp

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