Is dinner time still family time at your household? Or are your kids glued to an iPad whilst mum and dad chit chat the day’s events or themselves watch TV?
What is this digital revolution doing to our kids? Should we hand iPads to kids during their tender years? Does all these use of technology make our kids less sociable with their peers and later life? Is technology a band-aid solution to parenting? These are questions I’ve had for a few years now..
Technology is a necessary part of life..it’s impact widespread-a Digital is disrupting whole industries: Uber and taxis, AirBNB and hotels..rather than just feeling left behind..should we as parents be preparing our children for this revolution? Jobs like drivers, cleaners, data analysts…are going to be gone in the next few years. New industries built atop of: 3D printing (challenging manufacturing jobs), artificial intelligence (challenging data processing jobs) are actually available today..SpaceX rockets, IBM’s Watson Supercomputer, respectively. Heck I’m simply amazed that Woolies practically has no cashiers anymore!
…so what careers should we guide our children towards? Rather than answering that question I would like your permission explore the idea of nurturing our child’s inborn curiosities.
Albert Einstein said “I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious”
The reason I was inspired to write on this topic is because I had read somewhere in the USA that a 16 year old boy had made a nuclear fusion reaction in his grandma’s garage. I thought OMG! At what age did he start learning this stuff? Who influenced him? Did his parents not stop him?
You can watch the whole story at :
Wonderment: the state of awe or respect. In school and home we can foster this state where no questions are stupid and it’s okay not to know the answer…for the void of knowledge is the basis of curiosity. Take your child to the err library (seriously I still do because who has money for magazines) it encourages exploring new genres…or simply Google…you literally ask questions like “How do I…”, “How much does it cost to…”, “Why does this….” With 7 billion people on this planet there’s bound to be someone with the same questions.
Curiosity some say is a skill that’s like a muscle….use it or lose it. Use it on the daily and it grows into a tool that we can rely upon to push through hard times. Back when I was a student sitting there I would often have questions to ask but because I was too shy to seem like the idiot…I would hope some other kid had the same question in mind. Half the time they did, the other half I was resigned to silence. As adults, it’s not like these bad habits die away…imagine though the world of possibilities if you just had that bit of courage?
To start building courageous curiosity…try:
- Letting our kids go wide: read/watch/study a wide range of things..rockets to volcanoes, role playing police and butcher, save the whales and ask why snow is snow. Branch off down the rabbit hole.
- As the parent, ask lots of questions: rhetorical and non-rhetorical. Children will learn by modelling. Curiosity starts with an unknown and a question sets the stage for finding the answers.
- Be patient. Learning can seem a struggle at the start when new jargon needs to be picked up or when the answer is obvious to you but not your child. Guide them with further questions.
- Stand in the other person’s shoes: it can teach a different perspective on touchy subjects like politics and religion and build invaluable tolerance for other culture’s.
- Challenge the status quo. Like Taylor, the kid who believed he could produce greener energy and built the nuclear reactor in his garage
- Travel: this ones self explanatory
- Go BIG: dive into unsolved mysteries of the world, try to tackle the hard issues which can be the most rewarding
Remember that kids will learn at their own pace. Just because your friend’s child started talking at two doesn’t make your child any less effective a person if he/she starts talking at three. Be observant of times when your kid is flexing their new brain power…like devouring higher level textbooks, being more pre-occupied with a certain musical instrument, or drawing sketches on the margins of the exercise book =p
Links to stimulate those minds:
Khan academy: learn economics, calculus, physics etc…
Learn to code: https://code.org/
Science Comps: https://www.asi.edu.au/about/
DIY Science Projects: http://www.sciencebuddies.org/
Inspiring young scientists: https://www.googlesciencefair.com/en/
Science competitions: Physics/Chemistry/Science Olympiads, Big Science, Curious Minds Winter Camp
State of Australia: http://www.pwc.com.au/pdf/a-smart-move-pwc-stem-report-april-2015.pdf