Holding Back the Future
I remember watching The Jetson’s growing up. I appreciated it, but I loved SilverHawks (go ahead, make fun), Transformers and Star Wars. I am a big fan of TV shows and movies that dream about what the future will be like.
One of my favorite ideas though is flying cars (I thought the Hoverboard was pretty cool, too. The one from Back to the Future, not those fake ones on Amazon that catch fire…)
It’s exciting when I see companies like Uber investing in fururistic ideas that can and will make a difference. I’m serious about this, flying cars (though at least 10 years away) are something that could change things for the better, and I’m ready to see it happen.
What is it that has kept things like that from happening sooner? Why haven’t we seen real progress in the development of technology? Lots of people have ideas on this, but I believe there are underlying issues that apply to more than future progress that affect our human ability to either feel the need to change or complacently coast with what we have.
When our focus in on control rather than exploration, we don’t even recognize that something is missing.
When we try to stay too safe rather than coach kids on how to navigate failure, we miss opportunities that failing can teach. We also miss out when we fall into the trap that we should teach practical over principle in education.
I saw this YouTube video the other day from Boyinaband #DontStayInSchool. His whole premise is that the education system did not teach him what he needed to learn. The fact is if he had been taught the skills he talks about, he wouldn’t have remembered them because of his attitude not because of his ability to learn. The truth is if we lose site of the benefit that comes from learning the basics of education and using that as a foundation to then understand life skills like budgeting rather than complaining that “no one taught me how to pay my taxes,” we have drifted into the zone of not seeing life for what it is, an opportunity every day to learn something new. The skills we learn in school are about the principle, not the information.
Here’s the thing, some educational approaches do need to change but the more important change is to tell our kids that it’s up to them to learn everything they can with the tools they have. If they don’t learn how to pay taxes or what your basic human rights are, that rests fully on their choice to not go find those things out. It’s up to us as parents to help our kids learn along with the school and not assume they are getting all they need. I tell my kids all the time, some things seem pointless, but it is your opporunity to ask, “What can I still learn here?”
So what can we do? At the core, we can encourage excitement about learning, engage relationships, stop blaming everyone else for kids not learning, and take responsibility for our part. By not having this approach to life, we are suppressing a future that desperately wants to be seen but we are being held back by the distraction of the blame game.