6

Sep2018

Your Child in an Uncertain Future – Essential Skills to master

Future of my children- In an uncertain future

Ask any parent the question - “What keeps you awake at night” and it is most likely that a majority would express concerns on - ' Future of my children'. They understandably tend to worry about their children’s mental, physical, social, emotional and financial well-being. Be it a parent-teacher meeting, social media groups or gatherings, the conversation invariably steers to the latest developments in children’s education, academic performances, the job scenario, technology trends and the necessary skills needed to make them employable in future. All this is done with the primary intention of increasing the certainty of their kids securing, sustaining and prospering in their future jobs.

Yet, if there is one thing that is certain about the future – it is that it can be quite uncertain! As Heisenberg’s famous Uncertainty Principle tells us, there is a certain fuzziness in nature and a fundamental limit to what we can know about the behavior of the smallest scales of nature. Apply this to the future of our children – we can send them to the best of schools, train them in the latest technology, provide them financial security and everything else under our control. But, we still cannot guarantee our child a smooth-sailing future. So, how can we help them face and sustain in an uncertain world defined by exponential change?

The key is to equip our children with the skills essential to optimize uncertainty. It is relatively easy to understand technological advancements in various work streams and educate children in their preferred careers. But wherever the outcomes are certain, they are driven by processes, methods and rules which a machine could quite easily do. So, clearly this would not be sufficient for children to differentiate and distinguish themselves. The focus then shifts to the uncertain element, which can only be managed by being innovative and creating a unique value proposition

And for a person to be innovative in their approach to managing their social and professional lives, they need to be cognizant emotionally, creative, flexible, adaptive, think critically, solve complex problems and be able to manage their relationships. These are skills which cannot be developed overnight and need to be honed gradually right from childhood. Some ways this can be done are:

  • Emotional Intelligence – Which is a person’s ability to interact with others in a socially intelligent manner. We can help build our child’s emotional intelligence by helping them recognize their own emotions, whether it be happiness, frustration, anger or disappointment and taking ownership for what they feel and how it can affect others. For example, if something changes in school for them, they would be able to deal with it more easily after sensing how it affects them and what they feel. Similarly, if they are able to understand the moods and feelings of their friends, teachers and parents, they would be able to interact with them more meaningfully.
  • Critical Thinking – How does your child tend to think? Do they believe everything they see or hear or do they ask questions and want to understand the logic behind stated facts? Are they open-minded and thinking of alternative solutions to the problems they face? These are the critical thinking skills which would help them make rational and sound independent judgements as they grow up. Children’s critical thinking skills can be developed by making it fun, giving them the opportunity to express divergent thought, encouraging them to ask questions, research the facts, be logical and linking relevant information.
  • Creativity – Some consider creativity to be an inborn talent, though in reality this too is a skills which can be developed with practice. Creativity in children can be fostered by providing them resources for creative expression, encouraging them to make their mistakes and learn in the process, giving them the freedom and autonomy to explore their ideas and do what they want.
  • Relationship Management – One of the most important aspects for children is developing friendships and positive relationships with their peers. Parents can help their children in this by modelling appropriate behavior which their children can learn from, encourage positivity in dealing with situations, provide opportunities for their children to try out various activities which would help them build friendships on shared interests, building confidence and good manners.

While these and other relevant skills do not guarantee to remove future uncertainty, they certainly can help create an individual who is better positioned to navigate their way through to social, financial, emotional and mental well-being!

  • Written byVijaya Das

    Vijaya is a People Analytics professional with a passion for writing. She loves to explore the special in the normal and takes inspiration from seemingly everyday events. A rationalist by nature, she is also highly enthused by travel, movies and mythology.

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