Q. The world of work seems so relentlessly competitive; I wonder what we can do to help our young children develop with the right attitudes and abilities to survive in it, as they must. What steps can parents take?
Ans. You're smart to ask that now, while you still have time to do something about it. Unfortunately, too many parents are so busy with frivolous after school activities, they don't focus on what will really help young people get into a good college-or be hired after graduation. New York Psychologist Ben Michaelis stresses that video games and television-two activities most kids spend far too much time at-definitely limit creativity and overemphasize making money. Instead, he believes parents should "reclaim your creative edge," and you do it by taking the kids to new environments, getting them to try new foods or learning about different cultures. (Regular visits to museums help here.) He also encourages you to try and do something creative each day with them, encouraging them to use their imaginations on play and handicrafts. Most important, challenge them to think of solutions to everyday problems, "to get their brain muscles working in order to broaden their ways of thinking."