This only dawned on me after we started to homeschool the kids. Suddenly we were responsible for their educational well-being, which made me ask the question:
What are we educating them for?
Not necessarily a question you would ask. The normal way of doing things is to send them to the best school we can find and trust that the education system (along with our help, motivation and support) will turn them into young adults ready to take on the world.
Nothing wrong with that in principle, but what if that’s not enough?
Our kids will have to compete in a connected global job market against people with similar (or better) qualifications, who because of where they live, will be able to do the same job for less money.
If current trends continue, India and China in 10 years will be producing huge numbers of graduates (60% more than the US and EU combined *1), academic qualifications will no longer be the competitive advantage they once were.
That is if there are as many jobs around (*2). Increasing automation means that traditional white-collar jobs will be significantly less in number by the time our kids become adults.
There will, of course, be different jobs, but the only way to secure the future for our kids is to teach them different skills, skills that cannot be replicated easily by an algorithm or machine (*3), skills that supersede academic qualifications and will enable them to stand out from their competition.
What does a dad have to do to help his children get the best future possible?
The future is uncertain, trying to predict it will at best, only be a guess. But we can see which way the wind is blowing and prepare our kids to be ready for change. Clearly, they will need to be flexible and adaptable, resilient, with an entrepreneurial attitude. They need to be creative thinkers and creative problem solvers, they will need to spot opportunities to add value, have a positive attitude and be confident.
No small task then!
Unfortunately, as we followed the UK curriculum, we realized that there is no room for structured and deliberate teaching of these skills in our schools, kids pick them up as the go along, mostly from parents (eek). I’m no expert in many of these areas, but there are experts out there we can learn from, and then we can pass these lessons onto our kids.