Let me preface this by saying that I am no expert 🙂 … but rather I am putting out my thoughts on what it means to be a well-rounded person and how do I as a parent think of “well-rounded” when it comes to my daughter!
A simple rule of thumb that I use when it comes to a well-rounded personality is that the person should have some semblance of the following characteristics (in no particular order):
- Knowledge – not just academic or school related, but also about things that one is not taught specifically – either in a school or coaching class
- Humility – because knowledge – when not embedded with humility equals arrogance
- Curiosity – because curiosity creates an innate urge to explore more and more things – and that increases knowledge
- Enthusiasm – the “let’s do it” spirit / attitude – because it signifies a zest for life in general
- Humor – because what point is all of the above if you are not fun to be with 🙂 and how drab would it be to be in the company of a humorless person!
Another thumb rule to check if one is well-rounded is to see if he/she can have a fun or stimulating or entertaining talk with any person on most topics under the sun for atleast 15 minutes. While it may seem easy, it is extremely difficult to actually hold someone’s attention for 15 minutes. Human beings are quick to filter out things that are “boring” for them and in this context 15 minutes is a very long time!
So – when it comes to our daughter (she is 9 years old and hence beginning to soak most things like a sponge; as all kids her age are!) – we make a conscious effort to talk or do activities that expose her to a wide range of topics – from history to space to quantum physics (not that we understand much of it!), but some things she understands and some things she doesn’t.
The ideal ratio that we try to maintain of things she understands : things she doesn’t understand is 80:20 – because we believe this is an ideal ratio to ensure that breeds knowledge, curiosity, humility and enthusiasm.
Any more on the “understands” side and Omisha will become a victim of a “know-it-all” syndrome (and we’ve had those experiences fairly early on in her childhood and it took us some time to dispel that syndrome!)
The 20% mix of “doesn’t understand” ensures that she has the constant urge to ask questions – and the humility to accept that there’s a wide variety of things that she still needs to learn.
What happens if you flip the ratio of “doesn’t understand” to more than 20? Personally, I believe this is equally dangerous – as it rears the monstrous head of underconfidence – and if there is one thing that I personally don’t want any semblance of in my child – it is underconfidence!
One of the biggest gifts of childhood is the ability to be audacious and think out of the box – and underconfidence can set in a rot that can slowly clip these wings of imagination!
So for me – the 80:20 ratio seems to be a good mix to start achieving the things I believe are most important to develop a well-rounded child!
Oh – I did forget one thing – and that is adding a dash of a healthy competitive spirit to the above mix! But let’s chat about that in the next edition of The Kids Carnival (which will also allow me to do a bit of shameless marketing about WKC :p)
What are your thoughts on building a well-rounded child? Please do feel free to share – it will allow us to do better on this – which is one of the most important things for our children in today’s day and age!
Shruti Divecha is a professional writer for various newspapers, magazines and online publications. She writes feature and lifestyle articles, reviews, travel, mythology and GK nuggets. She also writes for a pan India Braille magazine. She has an MBA and a Masters degree in Animation and Design, both from USA. Additionally she is a qualified Steiner Education teacher, a certified Jolly Phonics and a Jolly Grammar educator. Before choosing the writing profession, Shruti was heading the graphic and textile design department in her mother’s Home Furnishings Export House and Factory.
The company was one of top exporters of soft furnishing’s and made-ups in India having clients like large European Departmental stores. She currently is a full time educator and conducts classes for children in Creative writing and English Enrichment. You can connect with her at www.shrutidivecha.com