Raising Kids in A Global World

There’s a new challeneg on the web- to write a novel or a book in 30 days, by writing blog posts daily.  I thought I might try this, with parenting ideas, and see what gets generated during the month of November.

I was at a brunch this weekend with some neighbors, and we got into a discussion of how quickly technology was changing, and what this meant for our kids.  The children of the adults in the group ranges from just one year old to 17 years old- each facing a different challenge and a different set of metrics.

How do you prepare kids for a world in which the jobs they think they want now,  but might be gone, or at least drastically different by the time they graduate from high school, if not college? When most of us grew up, you could see yourself in a job similar to that your parents had- ranging from working in a factory, to working in business, to working at a bank or grocery store.

Within the past few years, grocery clerks are being partially replaced by self-checkouts.  File clerks are being replaced by electronic medical record systems, and other online datat collection systems.  Even most case law appears online, making online research easy and efficient, and this alone will gradually begin to replace the need for many paralegals.  People bank online, making the number of tellers needed much smaller than in the past.

My step-father ran a printer’s supply business with his brothers for years.  They went out of business because small, community printers went out of business.  Engraved wedding invitations are largely printed by a few, large companies, not by the guy around the corner.  Places like Kinko’s and Alphagraphics run printing and design jobs, and help even the smallest business get the kind of results that used to take alot more time and money to produce.   With the creation of word processing, and good quality, affordable home printing of documents and photographs, whole industries are gradually being phased out to a lower cost, more instantaneous, self-serve digital solutions.

I was asked to lecture a class at a local university on podcasting recently.  The class, taught to seniors in the business school, was all about mobile technology and its implications.  One of the students asked me what my five year plan was for my podcast (The LD Podcast- http://www.ldpodcast.com)  Since podcasting itself isn’t really five years old, nor is the concept of RSS feeds , this is a question without an answer.  How will user-generated content affect main stream media?  Will we all get our 15 minutes of fame?  Are the impossibly cheap entry costs to blogging, podcasting and even videocasting going to create or destroy traditional media as we know it?  How will the new media revolution change us and the future?  It’s going to be a fun and wild ride, but it still doesn;t answer how we prepare kids for the future.

The only answer we could come up with among this group for friends, was to give our kids the fundamental skills that really mattered.

  • A sense of self, and what they were good at- their individual talents.
  • The ability to problem solve and look at problems from different points of view
  • Creativity
  • The ability to adapt in ever-changing situations; know ehre to go to find answers even if you don’t have them yourself.
  • Give them the ability to take chances, experiment, and the chance to fail and then try again, after doing some analysis of the problem.

These are probably the skills everyone should have, but that all of our kids are going to HAVE to have if they are going to succeed in an ever-changing world.

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