Incorporating lifelong learning into your routine wields countless benefits, report Harvard academics, including a better social life, higher earnings, and, even, enhanced happiness. In India, millions of children drop out of formal education due to poverty or family needs, meaning that many reach adulthood without a formal education. Of course, education is not just about mastering STEM subjects such as mathematics and the sciences. Literacy is key when it comes to parenting, since it enables mothers and fathers to access and consume content that can help them become better parents. What are the major obstacles to literacy and how can parents work to overcome them?
The Link between Education and Parenting
Research conducted by various academics (including Melby and Conger) has shown that a mother and father’s education attainment is linked positively to parenting and teens’ academic performance. Studies also show that children of well-educated parents perform better on academic assessments. The benefits go beyond the academic. Those who are able to read and consume vital news can also incorporate aspects such as sustainability into the education of their children. They can discriminate between eco-friendly and harmful materials in toys and other baby products and even make wiser choices for baby shower presents and other traditions that may be relevant to their personal and social lives. Education extends to the daily choices we make, items we consume, and way we live our lives. Parents who are well versed on sustainable materials such as bamboo, or the amount of water that cloth diapers can save, can choose these items in lieu of those that harm the environment.
Renewing One’s Motivation
Many parents say that having children completely changes their focus. If they once had time to learn, grow, read, even study, they report, being a parent has made it more difficult to strike the right balance between personal growth and fulfilling their duty as parents. When parents continue to learn – be it about a subject that has to do with parenting or one that is simply of personal interest – they can reignite their personal interests and strengthen their identity as an independent individual. They can also feel more inspired about life as a whole and find the spark they need to start a business, take a hobby or talent more seriously, or even enrol for a course they have always wanted to complete at college or university.
When you are a working parent, it can be difficult to focus on important connections that are independent of your children. Engaging in lifelong learning can help you ‘find yourself’ and feed your interests, but it can also help forge vital connections with others. Whether you take a college course, attend art classes, or attend classes on religious or philosophical matters, your studies will enable you to meet interesting people and make new friends. It will also potentially expose you to a host of new ideas and challenge you to rethink preconceived ideas. This can keep you in touch with the modern world and help you discover new writers, thinkers, and creators.
Parents work hard to ensure their children maintain their physical and emotional health and wellbeing, but working on something as simple as one’s own happiness can also have positive effects on a child. Lifelong learning can help you stave off depression owing to the factors mentioned above – including the sense of connection and support that can arise when you meet and bond with others. The pursuit of happiness is a lesson that your children can learn by watching you. There are few better ways to teach them the importance of leading a life of passion than by doing so yourself.
Enjoying Independence as Older Adults
Health is a primary aim for any individual but if you are a parent, then you may worry about your independence when you are in your senior years. Your children could potentially move far away owing to work reasons, so it is important to boost your brain health in the lead-up to retirement. Research undertaken at the University of California – Berkeley has found that people who make learning a lifelong habit have lower levels of a protein linked to Alzheimer’s disease. Previous studies had already shown that stimulating the mind via games, reading, and writing could help keep Alzheimer’s at bay later in life, but this newer research shows why; it’s all got to do with beta-amyloid – a destructive protein that is the hallmark of Alzheimer’s. By staying cognitively engaged, you can potentially reduce the development of this harmful protein and enjoy a healthier, happier experience as a senior adult.
The National Literacy Mission in India
The Indian government is currently aiming to help adults improve their literacy via campaigns such as the National Literacy Mission, which aims to educate some 80 million teens and adults aged 15 to 35. There are around 40 other similar programs that aim to improve the skill sets of adults, some of which are conducted alongside NGOs. These programs vary in quality and nature and the government is working to fill the gaps by launching programs such as Skill India – which is aimed at increasing the currently inadequate supply of skilled labour in India. Literacy per se is vital in the digital age, in which so much information and advice is offered online. Those who are able to access an online connection can consume a host of free information that can help them improve their general life skills and their parenting.