The Future Of Work:
Remember that question we were often asked as kids? “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Let me explain how it has become irrelevant in our Digital age especially where schools mostly still have curriculum designed almost 150 years ago. Research tells us that 85% of jobs in 2030 that our children will have don’t even exist today.
And that’s the reality. Almost all companies that are now the world’s most popular did not even exist when our GenZ kids were in Kindergarten. Technology and Automation are removing and creating jobs at an exponential rate. By some estimates, by 2023, the number of voice assistants will bypass the number of humans in the world.
So, how do we raise our children to be professionals? Can we give them the expertise to compete with the machines we’ve created?
Yes, we can. And that can happen by teaching them lessons on “How To Be An Adult”. Through these, we can show them that there is nothing like the human experience. That only we, as humans, have the power to be adaptable and resilient to change.
Teaching 1 Billion Children, Online:
So much fuss is being made into how we’re teaching, how are kids are being taught, how billion children are out of schools now and whether we’re getting things right with digital learning. That discussion is actually not focusing so much on what we as families, communities and societies. Because we’re the ones who can teach them a lot through our attitudes and behaviors during the Pandemic.
Are we actively teaching them how to manage emotions, stress, conflicts, and communal living in times of our great upheaval and uncertainty? Are we making our children future proof with skills like resilience and adaptability.
What Life Skills?
Many parents ask what we teach at FutureSTRONG Academy, and when we say “21st Century Life Skills”, they say, “Oh yeah, OK, my child is fine, thank you.”
But, here’s the deal. Machines that we’re building using our spectacular Science, Math and Engineering skills are dictating how we must think, feel and act. But, thinking, planning and imagining are our unique value proposition as humans to begin with, isn’t it? Academic skills can be easily replicated, but qualities like empathy, perseverance, courage, commitment and hard work are deeply personal and what makes every human unique.
Between school, parents and society, children somehow must be able to learn how to get along with others, share and care, use self-control, advocate for themselves, deal with worries, be able to see someone else’s perspective, give and receive respect, be reflective and understand choices, take responsibility and accept consequences.. and so much more.
Social Skills and Our Interpretation Of The World:
As part of our daily life, we share time and space with our loved ones and sometimes with absolute strangers. We exchange words with people on our team, negotiate and network with people we’ve met for the first time. As we go about our business of engaging with people, we’re often second guessing ourselves and trying to interpret what the other person actually means through their words and actions. We do this because we want meaning in every context of our lives.
When our social feedback loop is met with our expectations of how people must behave or respond, we rarely question their social skills. Only when we feel that the social responses, we expected in a certain situation haven’t been on point, we begin to question the other person’s social skills.
Our brains are social, they interpret the world around us by watching, thinking, doing, speaking, and feeling. And starting as children we can learn to better navigate the world and our circumstances by improving our social skills.
A Life Toolkit For Our Digital Children:
Our children must be taught and positively mentored about the ethics and integrity to use the technology and the tools at our disposal. They must learn that our thoughts, feelings and behaviors constitute our actions and have far reaching consequences. They must understand how society determines who is morally bankrupt. They must be educated on the consequences of living life as a corrupt politician, an online bully, a corporate cheat or a music star who has seen quick success relying on drugs to cope.
Science, Math and Technology are important, but without raising fair-minded, ethical human beings, our human intelligence potential might lead to a disastrous future. It our imperative as a society to help our children understand that we don’t just turn any thought that comes into our untamed minds into action without a deliberate judgment on its consequences. It’s time we evaluate our own personal value system.
The Importance of Non-Cognitive Skills:
As parents with the burden of nurturing our children to their highest potential, we can sometimes lose focus of what’s really important for raising strong, independent and confident children. As drill instructors or disciplinarians, we leave no slack in our high expectations for our children.
But what good is it if our children can do AP courses, play 3 instruments and get accepted in top schools if they can’t manage their time, expectations and relationships, or manage their emotions and resolve conflicts?
Soft skills, also known as non-cognitive skills, are those things that are not commonly measured on standardized tests. They are skills like how good you’re at team work, how focused you are or how well you can communicate the depth of your skills, etc. What’s more? After all, how much we will earn in our adulthood is dependent on not how well we do in math, but how well we can work with others.
Finally, They’re Not Just a GPA:
Just what does an Ivy League college worthiness mean in our current times? We can be the top 10% of our graduating class and never mind, the rest of our class might not even be that motivated or have basic communication skills.
Our teens must be taught two things that are not being actively taught in high school these days. How to look at the big picture (strategy) and how to manage real time life (tactics) as it unfolds.
Let’s face it, a steady dose of good grades, internships and AP courses might still mean their long-term strategy of success if tactically flawed. See where we’re going with this?
That’s why we are a parent advocate run organization that brings social, emotional and character development to homes, schools and communities. We feel like we cannot wait for educators (who are already overwhelmed with their day to day curriculum) and schools to teach our children essential life skills like decision making, problem solving and sustainable goal setting.
The Importance of Resilience:
Ideal parents want to empower their children to believe in themselves and encourage them to realize their highest potential. But, how can they ensure that their children will follow through with their dreams and stay on the course when the going gets tough?
That’s when the lessons of resilience come into play. Resilience is the quality of unstoppable determination with which humans are capable of bouncing back after a tragedy, major adversity or a personal/professional set back. Children who have positive self-worth and self-esteem believe in their abilities to achieve their goals.
From this belief arises their ability to persevere, aspire and achieve. Promoting the abilities to learn quickly and easily, using techniques to increase attention span and focus are other tools that help with grit.
How Can We Begin?
Let’s look at what our children need to learn to become successful and productive citizens of the world. Not just skills that will enable them to do their job, but to accept rejection and failure, interpret nuances in conversations, show self-regulation, and effectively collaborate with everyone on the team.
We can teach to increase the adversity quotient to raise entrepreneurs. We can enable discovery and innovation through the curiosity quotient and improve their connection and collaboration to their peers through tapping their emotional quotient.
And for life skills like vacuuming, cleaning, watering and caring for plants, making breakfast and their bed, washing clothes, managing savings, pumping gas etc etc, those are upto parents to teach them. By remembering that we don’t have to be our children’s enablers and not rescue every time them unless it’s a life and death issue.