How can parenting move humanity forward?
Here is how I have chosen to do it.
The Starting Line
Let’s agree on the basic principle (without getting too philosophical) that we as parents want our children to be healthy and happy - however defined.
But we cannot be there for them all the time, forever. We want, we hope, we pray, for our children to make decisions that are not only right for themselves but for the greater community as well.
But how does one become this person? Whose responsibility is it to help a child be this person? What kind of tools and skills will a child need? What kind of foundation do we as parents have to build?
More importantly, how do we know that these tools and skills are really what a child needs for wise decision making? How do we know that we are laying the right foundation?
The answer, I believe, is that while we never will know with absolute certainty, we can ensure that our children not only learn to learn, but also to know why they are learning.
But most importantly, let's not forget that our children learn best by modelling. If we want our children to be wise decision-makers, the journey begins with ourselves as parents.
Our Children's Future
The 21st century is being defined by the speed of change simultaneously resulting in, and fed by, unheralded human induced complexity, increasing interconnectedness at both the macro and micro level.
The cacophony of opinions is deafening when it comes to the re-thinking of the way we as humans connect and relate to one another and our world at large; the way we build our cities; the way we spend and value our time; and no less how to parent.
How does one be a wise decision maker amidst this context?
More than ever, this century's child needs to be equipped to not only navigate these complexities, but to thrive. To meaningfully address this century's reality and beyond, dualistic, 2D approaches are no longer sufficient. Open-source, multi-dimensional, multi-faceted approaches are fast becoming the baseline.
The world our children will inhabit will be largely foreign to us. To use an analogy, all education systems aspire to teach children how to fish. The better ones teach how to design a fishing rod. But, how is this helpful if the pond does not exist anymore, or if fish are extinct?
There is no longer a linear correlation between the ability to cram and succeed in a maths exam and success in working in multi-disciplinary teams on a complex project, or true happiness and peace, or simply being a nice person.
The issue is that mainstream education system seems to be inciting an unquenchable thirst for ever-increasing short-term results: exams, evaluations, scorecards, KPI for teachers etc.
Is mainstream education producing students who can analyse anything but knows not for what? Who knows the price of everything but the value of non? Preparing our children for a world that no longer exists, whilst failing to prepare them for a world that will be?
While there is no shortage of great, passionate and experienced educators, it is increasingly the system that we as a society have put in place that makes it harder for real learning to take place.
What we need is nothing less than a new mindset to perceive the environment, analyse problems, conceptualise possibilities and innovate solutions. All of which requires decision-making capability.