National Adult Education & Family Literacy Week

jennwiggjuly2015It is National Adult Education and Family Literacy Week!  What does this make me think?  I think of the 7 Essential Life Skills by the Mind in the Making. Why?

The seven essential life skills are:

  1. Focus & Self Control
  2. Perspective Taking
  3. Communicating
  4. Making Connections
  5. Critical Thinking
  6. Taking on Challenges
  7. Self-Directed Engaged Learning

These skills are the foundation of education and literacy.  If we don’t have these skills we are unable to be educated.  That may sound harsh, but in my opinion these skills are so intertwined with how we learn it is impossible to separate.

A quick review of the skills:

Focus & Self Control– we need this skill in order to achieve their goals, especially in a world that is filled with distractions and information overload.  It involves paying attention, remembering the rules, thinking flexibly and exercising self-control.

Perspective Taking is seeing things as others would see them.  It goes far beyond empathy; it involves figuring out what others think and feel, and forms the basis for our understanding of the people in our lives- parents, friends, co-workers intentions.  When we have the ability to take others’ perspectives we are much less likely to get involved in conflicts.

Communicating is more than understanding language, speaking, reading and writing- it is the skill of determining what we want to communicate and realizing how our communications will be understood by others.  We communicate in many ways besides language, including music, dance, and the visual arts.

Making Connections is the heart of learning- figuring out what’s the same and what’s different and sorting these things into categories. Making unusual connections is central to creativity.

Critical Thinking is the ongoing search for valid and reliable knowledge to guide beliefs, decisions and actions.

Taking on Challenges is more than learning how to cope with stress.  It means you think about experiences and events that may cause stress and work to deal with them positively.  Beyond that Taking on Challenges means that you learn how to deal PROACTIVELY with challenges trying something that is hard, learning from mistakes and not giving up. Figuratively it means getting back on a bike after you have fallen off and trying again.

It is through self-directed learning that we take responsibility and initiative for seeking knowledge and skills: and through engaged learning that we keep a passion for learning in our own lives.  Thus, it is through Self Directed Engaged Learning that we realize our potential.  As the world changes, so can we, for as long as we live – as long as we learn.


The most important thing to me is that we recognize that we never stop learning these skills or academic knowledge.  Being a lifelong learner is the most important thing and I believe that is what the National Adult Education and Family Literacy week is all about.

Celebrate by learning and a donation in honor of Day of Giving and the week would be nice also.


Note:  Past Blogs on the 7 Essential Life Skills:

We interrupt this blog series

Mind in the Making- A Second Look

Mind in the Making: Skills 3 & 4 

Mind in the Making: Skills 5 & 6 

Mind in the Making- Skill 7 

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