What you’re not taught (but should learn)

Happy poster-paint children's handsWhy aren’t communication, negotiation, and conflict management skills taught in school?

Starting in grade school. And in high school. And college. As a requirement, not an elective.*

We leave school and wander off into the rest of our lives, mostly unskilled in the art of relationships, connection, negotiation, and real communication.

The ability to have hard conversations is a keystone for professional success and happy relationships. Yet we’re expected to “just know” how to do it – perhaps because we know how to string words together into a sentence?

As you can tell, this fundamental unpreparedness that most of us deal with throughout our careers and our lives is a hot-button item for me. There’s no excuse for it.

Just imagine what the world would be like today if everyone who had attended school had taken required programs in interpersonal communication and basic empathy!

What can we do?

Learn now.

Read books.

Avoid scripted formulaic responses. Study people.

Practice. Be willing to make mistakes. Be vulnerable.

And please, help your children learn.

Not sure where to start? Try this practice from the blog few weeks ago. You can use it with your kids, and have conversations with them about what they observe.

* This is not to say that¬†interpersonal communication programs don’t exist, because of course they do. What I’m objecting to is that these are elective programs or specializations at the college or university level. What’s severely lacking are foundational interpersonal studies, “let’s all learn to get along” classes, starting at the grade school level and on through high school, required classes that students must take and pass in order to graduate.