Leo Babauta has a great post that got me thinking this morning…
As someone who went from the corporate world and then the government world to the ever-changing online world, I know how the world of yesterday is rapidly becoming irrelevant. I was trained in the newspaper industry, where we all believed we would be relevant forever — and I now believe will go the way of the horse and buggy.
Unfortunately, I was educated in a school system that believed the world in which it existed would remain essentially the same, with minor changes in fashion. We were trained with a skill set that was based on what jobs were most in demand in the 1980s, not what might happen in the 2000s.
And that kinda makes sense, given that no one could really know what life would be like 20 years from now. Imagine the 1980s, when personal computers were still fairly young, when faxes were the cutting-edge communication technology, when the Internet as we now know it was only the dream of sci-fi writers like William Gibson.
We had no idea what the world had in store for us.
And here’s the thing: we still don’t. We never do. We have never been good at predicting the future, and so raising and educating our kids as if we have any idea what the future will hold is not the smartest notion.
When I was younger, I was a German major. I got to the doctoral level at the University of Illinois before I bailed on my degree work. Why? In part I was finding it was irrelevant. After 10 years of studying German, I had read German literature from every period – I had even read every word of Das Nibelungenlied in ‘Mittelhochdeutsch’ – middle high German – an academic language that never actually existed. I could quote Goethe, Schiller, Heine – I knew more about German literature than most Germans. I could not, however, speak ‘street’ German – ‘umgangsprache’ – with an everyday German. My training, in many ways was worthless…
My wife and I used to home school. Now our boys are in a public school. Each night we see them come home with no homework. No challenges. No critical thinking. We wonder what kind of preparation they are receiving. Leo’s post is a wake up call for me. Go to the source and read it all!