Updated: May 16
With all of the changes that have occurred in the educational field in the last 2 years, it would be bold-faced lies to say that anyone has it figured out. Not even close. Not by a long shot. Parents and educators alike wonder what the future holds for their children and their students. Some perhaps less so than others, although others can recognize what's needed.
There are some key ideas that are alive today, that will carry well into the future. These skills will not only prepare your child or student for their future career - whatever that might be - but also for their future as an independent and capable individual. Isn't that what every adult wants (or should want), for every child they know? There's some skills that never die, in other words, and in our future - the only thing that is for certain is uncertainty.
Skill #1 - Interpersonal Connections
This is not rocket science. How does the saying go? "No man is an island" or something like that. Teach your child how to "play nice" with others. They don't have to get along with everyone - in fact, it's better if they don't have a million best friends - but you do need to teach them how to communicate effectively, be respectful of others, and contribute to a community of sorts. Let them find their group - their tribe, if you will. No one (or, 99% of people, any way) does life alone.
Skill #2 - Problem-Solving
Oh boy. This is such a buzz-word in the educational space. But it's because it's true. Don't focus on teaching your children what to think. Instead, choose to teach them how to think. Sounds fairly simple, but it is, as always harder to put into practice. This means that you must not be the helicopter parent, that you have to, in some sense, allow your child to make their own choices.
"Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime." – Lao Tzu
Skill #3 - Intrapersonal Abilities
Teaching your child to be in tune with themselves, to develop self-awareness at a young age, is a skill set so valuable that a lot of people charge exorbitant amounts of money for it. With good reason. It's an expensive skill set to develop, but it's more expensive not to.
Skill #4 - Technological Limitations
This is, at this point in time, a legitimate skill to have. Having what is termed "tech limits," being able to shut off the computer, tablet, phone, pager, and fax machine, and have the ability to continue to connect within the very real and concrete world we live in, is an ever-increasingly important skill to possess. It's best to start small, like by scheduling in regular "unplugged" time daily.
Skill #5 - Patience
You can not join your child in the water; you must be the lifeguard. As impatient as you may be, as a parent or educator, to help your child do everything the right and most efficient way...you can't. We as humans don't learn that way; we never have, never will, and it is silly to think otherwise. As hard as it may be, you can only guide your children through life, not walk the road for them. Exercising patience, & modelling patience for your children, is a great place to start. After all, we learn by watching those who have gone before us.
Adaptability Is The Road To The Future
None of these skills involve book knowledge. All involve a hefty sense of personal responsibility, accountability, and - you guessed it, adaptability. Times are changing, and will continue to do so.