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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Is your aversion to risk, holding your child back?

News Herald – Juliann Talkington

Juliann

In the 1970s, we knew little about the day-to-day lives of people in other parts of the world and did most of our business locally. Today we seamlessly connect with people all over the planet, from the customer service agent in India to the professor in Spain. Not only can we text and hear these people, but technology allows us to see them too.

Kids have embraced the new technical products that allow us to seamlessly connect, but one has to wonder whether our children have the skills to succeed in a world where technology changes about every two years.

With such a short cycle time, it is useless to teach kids the intricacies of each technological product. Instead it is important for them to understand how to solve problems, handle failure and persevere when the paradigm changes.

Kids need more focus on basic subjects like math and science, so they can learn how to solve complex problems. Then they need an appreciation of a wide variety of topics from foreign cultures and languages to art, so they can come up with innovative solutions to real world challenges.

In addition, children need to learn the importance of hard work, so they can obtain and keep a job. This means we have to stop coddling our kids and require that they take responsibility for their actions.

Another issue is that adults are more risk adverse than children. We cling to what we know and understand. We look for schools with the same programs we had, rather than embracing schooling concepts that are more in line with the times.

For example, we still want separate music classes, rather than courses that blend culture, music, math and science. And we demand computer instruction, rather than courses that require children to use the most current technology to solve problems.

Then we send our kids to college thinking any major will prepare them for employment, when the reality is that most employers are looking to hire creative individuals who have strong technical problem solving abilities.

To make matters worse, many of us encourage our kids to look for “stable” jobs rather than jobs where they will gain the experience necessary to succeed in a changing world.

To make sure our kids have every chance for success, it is time for us to become less “fuddy-duddy”, embrace change and encourage risk.

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