Three Rules to Live By if You Are Developing Students

Each week, I blog to teachers, youth workers, coaches, parents and employers who work with young people. In fact, my tagline for the blog is: Leading the Next Generation. Today, I’d like to unveil three rules every leader of young people ought to know about human nature, particularly young humans. If you train students or young adults, never forget the following life rules:

1. People don’t do well when things in life come easy.

It’s true for all of us—but certainly for kids. If students grow up and everything has been handed to them on a silver platter; they’ve never had to work for any of it, in fact, the “poop never stuck to their shoes” (meaning they never had consequences for the wrong things they did), they likely will not fare well in life as an adult. We must teach appropriate consequences to students, for all of their actions.

2. People almost always do better when they are watched.

My friend told me how he runs daily around the track at the local high school in town. One day, a bunch of beautiful young ladies stood beside the track chatting. He told me he made sure his form was perfect and he looked good when he ran by them. Why? Just in case they were watching. The bottom line? We all perform better under surveillance. We need accountability. We do better when we’re watched.

3. People don’t perform well without encouragement and example.

Most of us forget a universal principle in life. Encouragement is not a luxury. It is essential for people to move forward. Additionally, seeing an example is often a necessity, since people generally do what they “see” not what they “hear.” Last year 61% of American workers said they received no encouragement on their job and saw no positive examples. Ugh. As you attempt to train young people, be intentional about the encouragement you offer and the example you set for those students.

So, whoever you’re students are, whether they’re…

  • An Athlete or a Mathlete
  • A Musician or a Thespian
  • A Jock or a Geek
  • Fuzzy or Focused about the future

I suggest you follow these three rules if you want to prepare them for the future. Are there any other “rules” you’ve found are universal?


Three Rules to Live By if You Are Developing Students