“The mother’s heart is the child’s schoolroom.”
– Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1887)
It’s Mothers’ day this Sunday. While the world celebrates, I inevitably reflect upon my role as a mother. These questions come up again and again, year after year.
“Am I a good mother?”
“Have I done enough as a mother?”
“What else can I do to be a better mother?”
How do we define being a good mother? I’m sure we can all agree that giving birth alone does not even come close to one being defined as a good mother.
Let’s go back to basics – the very basic: looking at the very primordial instinct of moms, I discovered certain key similarities between us humans and the animal kingdom. Whether it is a lioness with her cubs or an eagle with her fledglings, every mother not only nurses her child for survival, they also nurture their children to thrive and survive in the community that they will grow up into. More than just hunting for food, the lioness would teach her cubs how to socialize with the pack, how to defend themselves and also how to problem-solve and overcome the harsh elements presented by Mother Nature.
Things are very different in our urbanized and globalized society compared to the African Savannah. Reading the daily news sometimes gives me an unsettling feeling because the world is increasingly getting unpredictable and our interconnectedness lends itself to this unpredictability. Today, an event that happens thousands of miles away across the globe might send ripple effects, affecting our jobs, livelihoods and even the security at our doorstep. Hence the term coined to describe the 21st century we live in a ’VUCA’ environment – Volatile, Unpredictable, Constantly Changing and Ambiguous.
“We are in a new world, using old tools” – Thomas Friedman.
The VUCA world can be characterized by these elements:
* Increased global connectivity and collaborations
* Increased use of multi-disciplinary platforms to derive solutions
* Increased complexities in problems
* Increase in collaborative work rather than individualized projects
* Increased exposure to complex digital and intelligent systems
It is obvious that just ensuring my children are well-nourished, well-protected and properly schooled may no longer be de-rigueur to nurture them to thrive in this new VUCA world which we have no control over. So how do we ensure our children can be ‘future-ready’? Most literature in this area of research suggest that the following competencies are necessary:
1. A lifelong love for learning: With the ever-changing environment, this becomes an essential skill – being able to be a self-directed learner who keeps on learning to stay current and relevant.
2. Having an open mind: One must not be contented just with a single set of perspectives or solutions but appreciating that there may be more unconventional or new approaches to a single problem.
3. Learning about learning: Not only should kids love learning, they need to know under what conditions they learn best. This meta-cognitive approach enables the children to understand themselves, their strengths and their areas for improvement.
4. Self-awareness: To know oneself is an important part of striving to improve and push new boundaries and to find one’s key motivations in life.
5. People Skill – Working with others will be the standard mode of working whether is it over the phone, email or being physically there. The ability to discern people’s idiosyncrasies and possessing good EQ are important for our children’s development.
6. Communication Skill: Communication is not just about talking but more importantly it involves emphatic listening and choosing when to speak, what to speak and being sensitive to your targeted audiences.
7. Globalised Mindset: The future world would need children to embrace a diversified perspective of the world, love different languages and able to adapt to different cultures etc.
8. Comfortable with complexity and ambiguity: Perhaps one of the most difficult to inculcate, as complexities are never easy to embrace. In the future, our children must be to manage complex situations and provide solutions while appreciating that the solutions may not be a magic panacea to the entire problem.
All these suggest that textbook knowledge alone is not sufficient to help our children navigate this VUCA world. At The Learning Lab, their classes and courses are designed specifically with this purpose in mind – to enable children to thrive in the future world. Its curriculum is designed to empower the students to be more than mere academic excellent learners but rather adaptable, self-directed student leaders who appreciate that life’s experiences are rich sources for personal growth. TLL has taken on the noble aims to equip every child with these essential future-ready attributes:
• Communicating effectively
• Confidence in public speaking
• Effective bilingualism
• Love for reading
• Successful leaderships
These are evident not only in their regular lessons but also in their holiday programs. In her TLL English class, Dana picked up strategies to be confident in public speaking; she was also introduced to works from distinguished authors and discussed case studies of inspiring world leaders. In the recent March Science Camp, Dana discovered the impacts of life-changing inventions from famous scientists through hands-on collaborative problem-based inquiry.
For the upcoming June holidays, The Learning Lab would be conducting a selection of holiday programs embedded with elements of future-readiness. You can take a look at the June Holiday Program Catalogue here: https://www.thelearninglab.com.sg/june-holiday-program-2016-summary/ TLL’s holiday programs are really popular so do register early.
“We cannot always build the future for our youth, but we can build our youth for the future.” ― Franklin D. Roosevelt
EXCLUSIVE MOTHERS’ DAY GIVEAWAY!
Thanks to our sponsor The Learning Lab, here’s a chance for you to win a June Holiday Program (Nursery 2 to Sec 4) for your child! To qualify for the draw, simply do the following:
Complete the final steps in this Rafflecopter widget:
The giveaway ends 15 May 2016, 11.59pm and is open to readers in Singapore. The winners will be contacted using the contact particulars provided when entering this draw and will have 24 hours to respond, failing which a new winner will be drawn. All incomplete and unverified entries will be disqualified. All entries will be verified before the winner is announced. Please note that all fake Facebook and Instgram accounts (e.g. accounts set up purely to take part in contests with no authentic posts or very few real friends) will be disqualified. All the best!