As parents, it is inevitable that conversations with my husband sometimes drift to how we should be preparing our kids for the future. Over the last two decades, the advancement in technology had quite literally, changed the way we work, eat, commute, exercise, sleep and everything else in between. A whole new generation of jobs that weren’t in existence 20 years ago are now the most sought after ones, while many others had gone into oblivion, with many more to follow suit.
So stopping short of taking a ride in a time machine, how do we help our children tackle the jobs of the future, when we don’t exactly know the future? To use the analogy that my son’s school principal gave, today we can teach them how to turn the door knob, can we be sure a door will be opened the same way tomorrow?
While there is a plethora of resources available out there, including spending thousands on education that my children may or may not need, second guessing buzz words like A.I., telemedicine, and space vacations, the truth is that we’ll never know. However, what I think can really help is to develop a strong mental mindset and traits that would help them navigate the waves of the future, regardless of what holds for them. After pondering the many possibilities, I’ve narrowed down a list of the top 5 must-haves for me.
- Never Stop Learning – Instil in them a lifelong learning mentality. Supporting them to learn a new skill, pick up a new hobby, get a new perspective, or simply read a book (I love my fiction). Bottomline, never stop learning, or lose that desire for new knowledge.
- Experiential Learning – Pushing my children to get out of their comfort zone, learn to take calculated risks, roll up their sleeves and dig in. Learn through experiences, reflections, and if possible, make things better along the way. Only through pushing the boundaries will they be able to unleash their hidden abilities.
- Solve Problems, Not Equations – I remember a show on TV that featured a group of whiz kids who could do complex arithmetic calculations in seconds. While it’s absolutely amazing to watch them do their thing, do we really need another super fast human calculator? Especially when machines today can predict what the question was going to be? What is more important for my children is to be able to understand the problem and the logic, apply what they know and develop their solution. Equations are the by product in the midst of solving a problem. The thought processes that they go through is what learning for them is all about.
- Empathy – That’s the very first word in the Design Thinking Process. Only by trying to put oneself in another’s shoes will they be able to see things from a different perspective, and handle things in a more holistic manner.
- Resiliency – This is perhaps the most important of them all. As a parent, I won’t be able to shelter them forever. The ability to bounce back from failures, rejections and criticisms, learning from them, and starting all over again will be the powering force to bring them forward.
So there, the top 5 that I think would help my children in the future, which applies even to myself today if I may say. It is by no means exhaustive but it will do, for now.
Grew up in Singapore and stood on the cusp of the internet revolution. Learnt to code in Turbo Pascal (if you know it, you’re probably as old as I am, or older). 🙂
I’m fascinated by all things digital and bear nostalgia towards childhood memories. The comforting sound of the 56K modem, the fun I had with the Nintendo PopEye Handheld, the fights with my siblings over who got to use the phone, and my original Nokia 3310 that’s still sitting somewhere in my mom’s house. Not to mention the colourful food flavours that I grew up with.
The site name originated from my mother. Every time she wanted to tell me something that I may not like, she’ll always start with “Just general talk…”. From her general talks I’ve learned, reflected, and rebutted (a lot). Caused her some (major) heartaches along the way, and still inflicting minor headaches on a regular basis.
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