Books are great. A window to the world; little portal with a better view; a doorway to the other side. And still today, this lonely medium strains at the hems of what society demands of us. Many boomers and millennials are already witnesses to this change. We see app introductions faster than adoptions, blockchain tech pushing back the notions of traditional industries, and international commerce increasingly intertwined and more connected than the 1990s could ever imagine. Books alone would not do. The moment ink presses down on paper, the world has moved forward.

Yet the somber truth is, our next generation is rarely prepped for it. Many fourteen to sixteen year olds today still rely on formal schooling and books as their main source to knowing the world. Ask the average well meaning kid about Chemistry, and he’d probably be able to come up with something. Ask him the latest to data mining or integrated healthcare, and he’s often treading new territory. While this formal structure to learning is imperative and may still work in certain types of economies, much less can be said if we want robust kids in this new world.

The good news is, the new paradigm is easy to adopt. It’s often rooted in a drive and willingness to explore. To seek as much exposure as possible. As adults, it beckons us to encourage our child to spend time outside his school; outside the piano class; outside his room. To finish his homework and move on to reading about interesting islands or festivals or struggles that people on the other side of the globe endure. It prods them away from the familiar to the unfamiliar; the comfortable to the alien. It cheers on a desire to know the unknown.

And once they have tickled their own interests, we assist them to get out. Put those neuronic calories to good use, if you will. Encourage and usher them to volunteer at events and conventions and carnivals they have not seen before. Participate in self-sought summer programs abroad, or help out at local summer programs involving international student bodies. Set up their own ecommerce site, or code their first 32-bit video game. The key is exposure. And the possibilities abound.

Truth is, the reason why this works is spatial math. The more exposure points someone knows, the higher the chance to bridge those points and glean new convictions, new directions, and maybe, even new opportunities. None of this is really possible if we merely rely on linear nodes of knowledge acquisition. At best it’s contrived, at worst it’s ineffective. But if we encourage them to look beyond the textbooks and home tuition and school projects, we open to them the possibility that there is a whole bigger world out there; with nuances and situations and issues that could mean something to each of them to solve, or participate in solving.

Still, while exploring and engaging are great, exposure often tacks on the setbacks that exposure begets. When a child puts herself out there, she’s not immune to the pains and discouragements of those experiences; she’s vulnerable to them. Some may read about a place they long to visit, but realize they lack the financial means to even make half the journey across. Others may write in to volunteer at events, but get turned away for being too young or inexperienced. Still others may receive the arch brow or weird stares or verbal judgements for being enthusiastic about something that’s new to them. That’s ok. To fall and to scrape knees and to hurt and to heal. Tell them it’s ok.

So go on, get out there and explore. Encourage your younger ones to do likewise. After all, if we were really meant to stay in one place, we’d have roots; not feet.

Geraldine is an education technology writer, currently serving on the content team at Yodaa, a home tuition Singapore ed-tech startup. She is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Business and Literary Studies. In her free time, she researches on parenting issues, education tips and technological trends.

28 replies on “How to help our children stay competitive by embracing a changing attitude towards learning and acquiring new knowledge.

  1. Thoughtful post, Kally.

    Definitely agree about encouraging children, everyone actually, to explore.

    As you point out, failure, and learning to overcome it, ultimately builds confidence. Not arrogance, but genuine confidence.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. It’s been such a long time without exchanging words as, I believe, we were too busy. It’s 5:30am, I am sitting here not knowing what to do, when I woke up I was exposed to this great post. It seems like I didn’t tell you of what you have done to me back there. Well, Kally you have changed my mentality about writing, just to hark back on my utterance that writing is not beneficial. As I was a frequenter (daily visitor of your site and reader of your synopses), if there’s such a word, of your posts, I managed to write about 10 pieces of synopses and they were favoured by myriads of astute beings I cognise, all thanks to you.

    My Dear Friend, I genuinely love everything about your posts, literally this one. When I visited your website, this one of course, I became passionate of so many things, I begun writing and reading which exposed me to being an enthusiast of the crypto world. However, I concur with you when you say books alone are not sufficient, there’s more to this universe out there, meeting people and coming across things you never spotted seem to be the mere sound way of acquiring knowledge as having such simply means being diverse, or must I use the ‘being broad’ concept. I am in love with these words “The moment ink presses down on paper, the world has moved forward.” Thank you for writing for the world to be full aware of what’s compassing it, referring to ourselves of course.

    Still care of your synopses, I hope I am not forgotten, love you 😍♥️

    Via Heartfelt Regards
    Your Friend, Mokabane MW

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Mokabane, thank you for penning such a long heartfelt comment. It is wonderful to know that I have such arduous supporter who love my posts. Even your comment is very well written. Thank you once again.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Quite a fascinating post! It makes me wonder how many purposes there might be to education, what those purposes are, and whether there is any style or kind of education that can satisfy all or most of the various purposes at once.

    It also put me in mind of something that I noticed some decades ago when I was working in corporate sales. I usually had contacts at all levels in a corporation, and of course, I would chat them up to relax them before getting down to business. I discovered that the higher up in a corporation one went, the more likely one was to be taking night classes in the humanities. Indeed, there seemed to be about a one in three chance a CEO or senior exec would take a history, art history, or English lit course at some point during the year. If not in a classroom, then via some home learning program. This was almost never the case lower down the ladder. I wonder now if that was a fad, or something more enduring. Unfortunately, I do not know, but I was told more than once it helped them do their jobs, especially when it came to formulating corporate policies and business strategies.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much, Paul for visiting and sharing your experiences with us! Education has taken such a turn these days and it is no longer confined in a classroom. A lot of online courses these days are much more beneficial and impart real life knowledge to students. Even I have attended a few of them and pretty amazed that what I have learned.

      Liked by 1 person

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