PREPARING OUR KIDS FOR THE FUTURE WORLD OF WORK

Today I’m thinking about what we can do to adequately prepare our children for the future.

 

My husband and I certainly feel that we’re not doing enough. The world is changing at an unprecedented pace that has never been seen before.

 

Technology is the driver and our kids are in the back seat of the car, instructing the driver to go left, right or straight ahead. And where are we parents in this high speed journey? We’re running behind screaming: “hold on, wait for me… “We should be on the back seat helping to navigate.

We attended a talk on Raising Young Talent for the New World of Work. It was hosted by parenting expert – Nikki Bush, Generation Y speaker – Raymond de Villiers and Sameer Rawjee of Googles’ O School, at Henley University, earlier this month. We left overwhelmed but with a better sense of what to consider for the future of our kids.

 

I took away these learnings:

 

  • The world will continue to change at a rapid pace. This change is brought on by technological development – our kids should be adaptable, resilient and resourceful to meet its demands. They should embrace the constant change of the digital world.

 

  • Schooling as we know it, is not adequately preparing our kids for this future. Grades at university and schooling will not be  chief indicators of our children’s capabilities. Their talents together with an ability to innovate will be.

 

  • Parents can and should gear their kids up to navigate this fast approaching world, by encouraging creative thinking –  out of the box thinking. Creativity in young children is stimulated through free play and approaching the world with curiosity.

 

  • Parents should teach children not to fear failure, but accept it as a necessary part of their success.

 

  •  Professions in law, medicine, finance and many others will change fundamentally. Parents too must change thoughts of traditional work to ones that fit with the coming world of work.

 

  • When your children speak to you about what they want to do in the future or in current extra murals and subject choices at school – LISTEN! Their desires are chief indicators of what they enjoy (what they may be talented in) and what they may thrive in later on.

 

It’s a tall order, but Sean and I will work at it purposefully in our parenting. How we parent will negatively or positively affect our children in the future. After all we’re raising adults.

 

NOTE: Diagram in featured image is from the book: The Future of Work by Jacob Morgan

PLAGUES OF PASSOVER – REAL OR IMAGINED

 

I haven’t been on line for a while because of that ever present challenge – coordinating the lives of so many people as they go on vacation and return to their play, school and work careers. So hullo everyone, i’m back – or rather we’re back. I am merely the story teller of the happenings of this South African family in Gauteng.

We spent our holidays in Hazyview. There’s nothing that can replace it in the city – the milieu of bird song that breaks the still morning. The azure skies that beat themselves against the rise of green mountains. Mpumalanga is amongst South Africa’s finest destinations.

Yes, there’s nothing that can replace it until you bring 4 kids under the age of 8 on holiday with you.  Our first holiday as a family of six. I still get mildly alarmed at that large number.  You feel it when you pack and repack your car. And then you realize that you’re not quite organized, because if you were you would’ve been on the road two hours earlier as planned.  We celebrated Passover on our first evening at the Hazyview Cabanas (watch out for my Review on the Cabanas, coming soon). As usual, at this time of year, our kids are all talk, song and dance about Moses and the exodus. So when Ellie was hunting for the middle matza and screamed “FROGGGG!!!!!!”, everyone thought it was a trick. We really did. It’s not beyond my kids to joke like that. So you can just imagine how that chalet was in an uproar when we all clapped eyes on the real Kermit. The kids met his presence with a combination of shocked fascination and disgust. In the middle of it all, Tali quipped: “Ellie, you better stop singing those plague songs. God is sending the frogs”. It was hilarious. We jumped and screeched every time Kermit lunged into mid air.

It should’ve all ended after he was shooed out the door. But alas no. Kermit and two of his cronies paid me a visit late that night on my way to the kitchen.  I flicked the light and there they were, just hanging out on the floor.

I think I would’ve lost my mind if I found them on the counter tops or worse still in my glass. Can you just imagine, looking down into your water to take a sip and seeing Kermit’s eyes looking right back – as he ready’s’ himself to leap into …. Yuck! Egypt’s plagues just took on a literal experience. Once again Sean shooed them out while I tap danced in horror!

To bed we both went and just as we were about to sink into sleep, Tali came to our bed…. ai life with kids. Sean took her back in the darkness. He flicked the torch on his phone to light the way and there was Kermit.Tali freaked out. She calmed down after we assured her that he couldn’t harm her and we’d get him out. Truth be told my inner child was freaked out too.

Turned out this frog was just jumping up against a closed door – who knows the reason. I can only think it’s because he believed he could push it open. At 1am anything is possible – intelligent frogs breaking in to chalets to hang out in the kitchen and visit sleeping occupants. Aaaaaaaahhhhh!!!!!!!!

Later that afternoon I was sitting outside. Tali asked “mum aren’t you afraid?”, to which I replied: “Tali, you can’t live in fear”. Her response: “yes you can, what if He sends blood”. I was speechless, who can speak when you’re so busy giggling.

We took our magnificent tour of the Kruger Park. We saw the Big 5 minus Simba which was disappointing, given the fact that my kids were looking out for Pride Rock.

But what we did see as we turned a corner was a startled elephant. The giant got a fright and started toward our Volvo at a fast pace. He was angry and he was flapping his ears. Sean reversed the car quickly while the rest of us held our breath in terror. My 2 year old kept pointing with loud shocked expressions interjected with “brrrrr”. My darling can’t say elephant, to her he’s just a brrr. The brrrr turned around and walked down the road. We kept a safe following distance and he walked. And he walked….walked and walked. We followed him for about 45 minutes. By the time he sauntered off into the bush it was getting dark and we knew we wouldn’t make it to the gate before it closed.

It got dark – very dark. We were surprised to see the Park come alive at night. From a mum and baby rhino crossing the road, to hyenas laying beside it. But it was when an impala almost ran into our car, that the girls believed that God had sent the plague of wild beasts.

That it was night time didn’t help – this time God had sent the plague of darkness. We eventually got to the gate at 8, two hours after closing time.  In spite of being weary and wary, we had a marvellous time being plagued. Whether my kids truly believed that God had sent the plagues or whether their imaginations were wreaking havoc – I remain in awe of their interpretations.

MUMMY, WHAT’S PROTEST ACTION?

We received a letter from the principal of my daughters’ primary school yesterday. He wrote of how the board considered closing the school on Friday in light of the expected widespread protests against the president’s cabinet reshuffle.

 

He told us that learning would go on as usual because the school did not associate with any political group. However, he went on to say, the school would respect the decision of parents who chose to protest with their children. He stated that the school would use this as an opportunity to engage learners on issues around protest action. In other words, they would use it as an opportunity to educate learners (at their level) about the demonstrations.

 

Should we be teaching our little people about politics? Are we not politicizing our kids at too young an age? Are we teaching them a culture of unruly behavior, of rebellion?

 

These are hard questions but we have chosen to discuss it with our 7 year old. We want her to learn that she has a voice and she can use it to express her opinions. Her opinions matter, both her assent and disagreement – even with her leaders. We want her to learn that her disagreement can be a tool to effect change but that it should never be accompanied by destructive behavior.

 

So in the conversation with my daughter yesterday, I explained that people march because they are unhappy with government. “Government, I thought it was because of the president that they are marching”, she said. I thought I was teaching her. But right there, was a lesson for me. The lesson that if I don’t teach my children, someone else will. The playground or some or other influential person will teach them how to perceive the world. Most parents would agree that not having control over what your kids take in, is placing them in harm’s way.

 

It also came to me that what we teach our kids about protest action will determine what kind of citizens they will become in future. And that’s all the more reason to engage them in the discussion now. We engage them to make sure that we raise involved concerned citizens. We do it to mould our children into conscientious leaders (different from our president) who understand that in the counsel of many there is wisdom. We do it teach them that their VOICES MATTER!

 

WHAT MY CHILDREN SHOULD KNOW ABOUT AHMED KATHRADA

My husband and I had the privilege if meeting Ahmed Kathrada 2 years ago at a book signing. I wish our brief exchange could have been my idea of a good afternoon – one drinking tea and gleaning wisdom from this man. It was with  sadness that we heard of his passing on our way to school in last week.

My 7 year old asked “whose that mummy?” My first response was simple, “he was a freedom fighter”. And then when asked again to explain “freedom fighter” I told her that he stood up against apartheid because it was wrong. And a flurry of questions and conversations followed on why he was called uncle Kathy and did he know Nelson Mandela and and and…

I can’t help but think that my description was somewhat paltry.  How do I break his contribution down sufficiently to bring an understanding to a little person, without it losing its essence, its importance, its enormity. How do I explain that his sacrifice more than 40 years ago has directly impacted her life.

There are many parts to the story of apartheid. But, after considering the life and death of Ahmed Kathrada, I think the most important part of the story for my daughter to know now, is that this was an ordinary man did great things.

He became great because he did extraordinary things. These extraordinary things were not related to scientific or technological invention, or inroads in commerce or research or any other human achievement that is lauded as great in the world. No, what he did was the greatest of them all – he stood against tyranny for the cause of others and did so at the peril of his own freedom.

In a child’s language – he found that he could not accept injustice against himself and others. He decided to do all that he could to stop it. He decided to fight for the freedom of everyone. He didn’t know if he would win the fight…. he fought anyway. His sacrifice was great, he even went to jail. He lost much and couldn’t enjoy life. But years and years and years later everyone else could.

And then I will teach her that she too can and must stand up for what is right, she too must serve others and not expect a reward. I will teach her that to live like that is to live a noble and great life.