When I was little, we went to visit family on a farm. We had the freedom to disappear into the veld for hours on end. One day we went climbing up a hill to explore the caves and as we ran down, my brother fell and hurt his knee. I laughed! Until I saw blood. (I still suffer from this inappropriate nervous reaction; it drives my husband mad!). My cousin caught up with us, compassionately consoled him and without giving it a second thought, tore off a piece of her skirt and used it as a bandage. What do you think she became when she grew up?
In those days, some things were simpler. There were clearly defined occupations with clearly defined pathways to get there. Traditional education systems have been very good at helping children master what is known, but not necessarily to help them find new solutions to new problems.
Enter the 21st century…
Jamie Casap, from Google Education, says we should stop asking children what they want to be when they grow up and start asking them what problems they want to solve and what they need to learn in order to solve those problems.
As parents, we just want the best for our kids, right? That’s one of the reasons we enrolled ours at Rallim! This extraordinary learning environment provides everything a 21st century child needs to cultivate curiosity, creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, communication and resourcefulness and the list goes on… These are all skills our kids need to prepare for jobs that don’t yet exist.
We believe these skills will help our children to develop an entrepreneurial mindset. Now that’s not to say all Rallim kids would want to start their own businesses. Thought leader, Gary Shoeniger, says it’s time to redefine entrepreneurship as a discovery process; to identify and solve problems in resource constrained and ambiguous environments, where the rules are not clear and the path is not well-defined. That is what entrepreneurs do. An entrepreneurial mindset is thus not just about becoming the latest successful Silicon Valley start-up, but according to Gary, it’s about taking on the responsibility to figure out how to make myself useful to others and by doing so I can empower myself.
So, along with helping our children become confidently competent in all those 21st century skills, how do we raise them to make themselves useful to others? How do we help them discover what problems they want to solve?
The answer could lie in blending old with the new; by cultivating the age-old characteristic, compassion. Among emotion researchers, it is defined as the feeling that arises when you are confronted with another’s suffering and feel motivated to relieve that suffering. Whether our children then want to relieve that suffering through coding or connection, is up to the child’s characteristics.
Author: Celeste Meyburgh
Registered Counselor and Psychometrist