I’ve been following some talks made by Jack Ma, Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerburg, and Warren Buffet. These are amazing people that are all leaders of their chosen fields and have big social responsibilities hanging on their heads.
Amongst the talks, a common concern arises when they discuss the current model of our education system. I noticed that almost none of them credit their success to the education they got from school, but instead from developing an ability to learn from their failures.
The more they fail, the more they learn. They take risks, try new things, fail a whole lot more and try again.
I think the reason most successful people aren’t able to credit their success to school is because schools punish failures. It rewards perfection, exactness, predictability, and conformity. Oftentimes, there’s only one way to do things, and there’s too little room for error, limiting possibilities and creativity. A lot of A-type students need to adjust a whole lot more once they stepped into the real world and realize that there is no straight gate. The world is an inception of possibilities, and because of information being easily accessible theoretical knowledge is valued too little without practical application.
The real world teaches very differently from how our education system teaches us. In life, (it seems) perfection and success is not a good teacher, failure is. Getting it right the first time and all the time, doesn’t take you very far, but your failures and mistakes will, if you choose to learn from them. And the good news is you cannot fail all the time, when you fail enough you’ll eventually know what works, just don’t give up.
I’m a Millenial baby and I’ve seen how our technology has been breaking walls and growing exponential lengths. From simple brick games, family computer, Nintendo, PS4 to the rise of virtual reality. I also remember the dial-up internet connection that takes 3-10mins just to connect to the web to today’s superfast fiber optics.
It’s a very exciting time to live! These technological advances made it possible for information to be accessible to billions of people everywhere with a single click. Now, we can teach ourselves almost anything just from watching Youtube videos! The rise of open universities like Khan Academy, edX, and Udacity provides great resources for a more systematic learning approach.
A CRISIS LOOMING
All these breakthroughs just prove the tragic truth that our education system is lagging behind. I feel so heartbroken that our system cannot keep up with these changes. While technology is growing exponentially, our education system is still on linear growth. It seems whatever is being taught in our schools today will be obsolete in about 10 years time, if not already. A lot of businesses will be embracing the efficiency of supercomputers and jobs will be lost. But at the same token jobs will be created that aren’t even taught in schools, this will all be learned self-taught or by finding a good mentor to learn the trade through on the job experience.
10, 20, 30 years from now artificial technology will take manufactured reality into a whole new level. Synthetic feelings, virtual experiences, an overdose of dopamine and other short-lived and addictive technology that provides temporary relief from all the human emptiness that comes from the junk the world is trying to feed us. It will be a vicious and addictive cycle and will ruin a lot of lives. Are the children ready for this?
If we want our education to cope with the current advances in technology, we need a radical reform that will be targeted towards the demands of the future. We need to keep away from the system that is built on uniformity, conformity, and standardization. Leaving these traditional methods and leading a self-motivated, interest-led learning that will be focused on addressing the uniqueness of each person using a method rather than a system.
Secure our children’s hearts. The Family is still the basic unit of our society, the power, and responsibility to raise disciples lies on each parent. As parents, we have the sacred calling to build a good moral and spiritual foundation for our children. Our homes are the most basic educational environment. We need not undermine our capacities to instill good-lasting values and habits to our children.
Children wouldn’t be able to withstand the blows of adversity if they have a weak spiritual, moral, and psychological foundation. All of which are instituted and cultivated within the walls of a Family that is built with love, care and respect for each other nourished with His Word.
I know that a lot of parents are drowning with responsibilities but we need to go back and identify what is really important. There has never been a generation when children have so desperately needed their parents’ time, thoughtful creativity, and friendship than the children of today. We need to use the technology towards our advantage and help counter the negative effects of it! Our children need to have a firm grasp of what is synthetic and what is real. An iron rod they can hold on to when their moral judgment, standards, and beliefs are being put to the test. A screen to filter out all the smug of the world and serve as a light in a troubled generation to lead them to see the beauty, goodness, and truth.
“In this time of extraordinary pressure, educational and social, perhaps a mother’s first duty to her children is to secure for them a quiet and growing time, a full six years of passive receptive life, the waking part of it, for the most part, spent out of the fresh air.”
WHERE TO START?
In these precious early years, our children learn best through their surroundings. Their little hands are ready to explore, play, and learn. Our duty as parents is to create opportunities for our children to see the world, not hinder them from seeing it. Children need to play outside! We, Parents, need to set aside our worries and fears about what could go wrong, but instead focus on letting our children get as much experience to carry with them the beauty of the world around them — while they still can.
Unstructured, interest-led play is the best activity for the early years. One of which is called masterly inactivity — a wise and purposeful letting alone which is the best part of early childhood education. A healthy balance between guiding and giving freedom. Learning this can be a bit tricky because “master” and “inactivity” are joined together but the key is you must have your authority in place and boundaries set up first (masterly) before you can practice wise passiveness (inactivity) in allowing children to explore, learn, and grow within those set boundaries.
Our children are so young to be bombarded with math problems, textbooks, assignments, and deadlines. We need to choose to give our kids a healthy childhood by letting them be kids! Enjoy the mess, savor the season as it will not last forever.
Educating the mind is important but it is not the end goal. We need our children to be ready for the challenges of the real world — moral, mental, physical, emotional, and most importantly spiritual. We need to prepare and guard the hearts of our children.
In the future, everyone will have diplomas, honors, and skills (thanks to free government education) but not everyone will be able to listen, understand, serve, love, and care.
“The question is not, – how much does the youth know? when he has finished his education – but how much does he care? and about how many orders of things does he care? In fact, how large is the room in which he finds his feet set? and, therefore, how full is the life he has before him?”
Thank you for reading this post. If you’re inspired to learn more about ways to educate your own children start by reading For The Children’s Sake by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay. I hyperlinked the preface of her book, you can download a free audiobook in Audible.
With much love,