Alright, so if you’ve read the about me section of my blog you know that I have a 6 yr old daughter. And that I’m big fan of personal development. If you know me personally you know that my parenting style and philosophies are unorthodox to say the least. Put that all together and you have today’s topic: personal development for kids!
Before we get into that let’s talk about what personal development is. If you’re anything like I was before I picked up and read my first PD book, you snicker when you walk by the “self improvement” section on your way to the fiction section of Barnes and Noble. That is if you even read at all. Why in the world would anybody read a book written by some schmuck on how they can improve themselves. Besides those books don’t even work, right? WRONG!!!
In my three short years of pursuing business and success, I have learned just how impactful those books are. Now, I’ll be the first to tell you that there are definitely some shitty books out there. That doesn’t change that contained within some of these books are philosophies and tales of experiences that can elevate your life those around you as well.
That being said I didn’t exactly jump in the deep end of the personal development pool. I inched in little by little. First, came the clichés, ad-libs, and philosophical concepts that any person in network marketing has heard: “how you do anything is how you do everything.” “You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.” “The struggle is less painful than regret,” and the likes; you might even notice them in my blogs. Second, came motivational quotes. I bummed quotes from people like Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, Richard Branson and other successful people. Last came actual books. My first book on personal development was How to Win Friends and Influence People in the Digital Age by Dale Carnegie & Associates, a new age spin on a timeless classic.
I was blown away from what I read! How was it possible that concepts published in the late 1930s were still useful in 2013? Just like that I traded in Dean Koontz for Dale Carnegie, John C Maxwell, Darren Hardy and countless others. Authors who spent many years refining philosophies that help the average person, were now my idols. Concepts that help people maximize their potential became my guiding light. Ever since then my life has changed for the better every year if not every month. Personal development has helped me strengthen relationships that were once weak, rid myself of relationships that were not serving me, increase my confidence in public speaking, and value my own uniqueness. No longer is fitting in my concern I’d rather stand out from the crowd and live on my own terms. Personal development changed my life, FOREVER.
That being said, personal development can be a pain to get into as well. If you’ve ever read Think and Grow Rich you know what I’m talking about; small print, lots of pages, overall boring, but extremely useful. I always tell people to save Think and Grow for after they have a few books under the belt. Otherwise it could be you first and last introduction into the genre. Think and Grow Rich isn’t the only culprit though. Unfortunately, all books are not created equal and neither are their authors. Fortunately, you have options, personal development comes in different forms now.
Audio books are becoming a popular choice for people that dislike reading. If falling asleep while reading is an issue, consider this your solution. The best part about audios is you can turn wasted time like commuting into useful time. Worst part is it’s easy to tune out what you’re listening to so it might take a few listens just to hear something useful. I already know what you’re thinking, “I could never get my kid to sit and read or listen to an audio that has nothing to do with fantasy or fun.” You’re right, which is why I suggest my favorite form of personal development…
Videos! Films with substance actually have a lot of personal development packed into a nice three hour or less package. Movies like Pay it Forward, The Pursuit of Happiness, even Fight Club have tons of life lessons jam-packed throughout. Still, those aren’t great choices for children, especially younger ones. That’s why I recommended ANIME.
That’s right, Japanese animated shows. I’m a huge fan of personal development like I said before. I’m an even bigger fan of anime and have been an avid watcher for close to ten years now. It wasn’t until I started picking up on personal development, that I made the connection. It seems silly, I know, but stay with me.
The misconception with animated media is that it’s only for children. If you’re an adult you shouldn’t watch anime unless you’re some kind of weirdo. While I am a bit of a weirdo I promise anime isn’t the reason for that. The best way I can explain anime is that it’s like taking a popular show like Empire and animating it. Nothing changes but the way the characters look. The drama, cliffhangers, adult themes, plot twists, and continuity all remain. In a lot of cases the character development goes to a deeper level than is normal. Partly, because it’s a completely different culture creating the content.
Some of the best anime series have run for 10-15+ years with seasons of up to 50 episodes each. On the other hand, their are great shows that only run one or two seasons and rack up less than 50 episodes total. It’s a hit and miss and only time will tell which it’ll be. As I said earlier most have themes more suitable for teens and adults so be sure to watch a little with your kiddo. Wont hurt to pay close attention to the ratings as well on dubbed anime.
The main reason I suggest anime is because it introduces personal development in an enjoyable format. Your kids will think it’s just some cartoon not knowing that they are actually learning wholesome lessons in the process. I’m not saying that they can’t learn from American cartoons like Little Einstein’s and Dora the Explorer just that they can’t match anime in terms of recurring themes and long-term consumption. I’ve known people that have grown up watching anime that is still running when they have their own kids. Giving parents the option to share that experience with their children.
I’ve actually done this with my own daughter. Recently, I’ve started my daughter on a show called Naruto. There were two reasons for this decision. First, she was watching a lot of mindless shows that I felt were fun but we’re not adding value to her life. Second, was the adverse storyline of Naruto.
Briefly, Naruto is a story about a kid whose parents died on the day he was born. Due to the circumstances surrounding their deaths and many others in his village, everyone hates him. Their hatred is so deep that the adults don’t even want their kids talking to little Naruto. Still Naruto has but one goal: become a ninja and not just any ninja the Hokage aka the top ninja or leader of the entire village, so that he can earn the acceptance and admiration of everyone that rejected him. Isn’t that a lofty goal? Nobody likes him, he has no friends, and he’s less than average when it comes to skills as a ninja. Naruto’s only defining quality is his “ninja way” of never going back on his word and never giving up. Through sheer perseverance and hard work Naruto pursues his goals relentlessly. Does he make it to the top…? I leave that up to you to find out but it’s an inspirational story told over 700+ episodes.
And that’s just one show. Many more shows have tales where the main character pursues their goals no matter how big they are. That’s a philosophy worth driving home over and over again, for me. This makes it easier to establish the foundation that pursuing your goals no matter how crazy is as important to living as is oxygen. But that’s just me…
SO… Did you find this blog useful, think I’m off my nut, want some anime suggestions? Well I want to hear from you! Drop a comment, like, share this online. Anyone that has kids or that is thinking about having kids needs to read this. Until next time…
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