The future your children will inherit will be very different than the world we live in now. For instance, a university degree, once a guarantee of a well-paid job, will no longer ensure your child a career, let alone a steady income. That doesn’t mean that we devalue education. Far from it, as all indications about the future of work suggest that your child’s ability to take on new knowledge and commit to acquiring new skills will be more important than ever. Continuous learners rather than those who close themselves off to new ideas and concepts will thrive in the future.
So how can we prepare children to thrive in a world where it’s estimated that over 20 per cent of today’s jobs won’t exist in just five year’s time? How do we prepare them for a work-life of multiple careers and job changes?
Recently, I spoke with Nikki Bush, well-known human potential and parenting expert in South Africa and author of a new book Future-proofing your child for the 2020’s and beyond. Nikki believes that the future will belong to those who develop a broad range of personal capabilities rather than a narrow number of academic abilities. These capabilities include:
Creativity and innovation
With information being only a digital search away, knowledge is already easy to obtain in the digital age. The ability to think outside of the square and find new solutions to old problems will be one of the most highly valued skills in the new world of work. Bush maintains, that by tapping into kids’ natural inclination to resolve their own problems in unique and not always adult-friendly ways (soup for breakfast anyone?), we can nurture the type of creativity that will help them succeed in the future.
Promoting personal resilience
Life doesn’t unfold in a straight line. It never has, but the future of work will have more twists and curves than ever before. Kids will need to be resilient and flexible enough to cope with rapid workplace change and lack of security, as well as be able to manage risk to earn a living. Bush maintains that kid’s resilience is enhanced when parents provide them choices and allow them to experience the full consequence of their decisions. She cites the example of a child who chose to coast prior to an exam rather than study hard, and then had to live with the consequences of performing poorly and not getting the grade he needed. It took a year of hard slog and study to recover from this set-back, but he got into the course he wanted with a full appreciation of the effort required to succeed. The future will belong to those who can live with and recover from these types of uncomfortable experiences.
Developing Self knowledge
Personal knowledge of strengths, capabilities and talents has been a skill that we’ve neglected to develop in kids. When the future is fluid and work continually changes, self-knowledge will become a passport to happiness and success. Bush suggests that kids should continually develop their own talent profile, which will become a valuable resource both during and after the school years.
There are no guarantees for the future. Life doesn’t work that way. It’s good to know that there are some signposts to follow to help us prepare our children to capitalise on the opportunities available in the changing career and social landscape ahead.
Hear more from Nikki Bush
Join our webinar ‘Future-proofing your child‘ presented by Nikki Bush, where she will outline her full blueprint for parenting children in the age of disruption. Hear from Nikki Bush in an overview here.