After a toxic relationship with his own father, Nathaniel A. Turner decided to be a different kind of dad when his son was born. One of the forms that pledge took was letter writing—personal and loving letters Turner wrote to his son, which have now been published in Raising Supaman in an effort to inspire other parents to put into writing the “hopes, dreams, and the deep affection that they have for their children.”
The entrepreneur, motivational speaker, and writer believes great kids don’t happen by accident, and his preparation, sacrifice, and intention seem to have hit the mark: His son, Naeem Khari Turner-Bandele, a recent high school grad, intends to major in computer science/computer engineering. He speaks three languages, never missed the honor roll, and has traveled the world playing in professional soccer academies.
Here are Turner’s tips for other parents who want to raise successful kids:
1. Begin at Birth, or Even Earlier. Successful parents deliberate and plan the course of their child’s life as early as possible. This would include formalized plans about academic requirements for college, college costs, service to community, knowledge of their history, etc., even before birth. Actively engage in educational tasks that increase language skills, vocabulary, and math capability from the start. Infants and toddlers are like clay. If you want to create a great sculpture you do not wait until the clay is hardened.
2. Embrace Delayed Gratification. Today’s society is one where immediate gratification is a top desire. But rarely are we rewarded for any effort immediately. Children who can delay gratification are more likely to continue a task even when they have no outward sign of their success. Children who understand delayed gratification are those who generally do something great.
3. Train Them to Be Great Citizens. Make sure your children understand their responsibility to be accountable to something other than themselves. Help your child find a cause or a purpose that goes beyond material possessions. The world only progresses when parents raise children who think beyond themselves.
4. Leave No Stone Unturned. Routinely remind a child that more is required where more is desired. Children must understand and appreciate the importance of being willing to do what the average avoid. Similarly, parents should not confuse what the average parent does as successful parenting. Parents must understand that children did not ask to be here, and their needs and well-being should come first. No stone should be left unturned to nurture, provide, and care for a child.
5. Stay in the Moment. This is a task that parents and children both should learn to master. We live in a society that espouses the belief that tomorrow is not promised, yet we almost exclusively function as if tomorrow is promised. We spend an abundance of time worrying about tomorrow and as such rarely give our all to the moment. Having children understand and value each moment of life gives them perspective few others possess.