Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Preparing Kids

Thoughtful writing about helping kids learn to really engage in their lives, finding the middle ground between TV-as-babysitter and overscheduling their lives so that every moment is structured for them: Preparing Kids for the Future Economy. Do regimented childhoods full of every possible organized extracurricular activity prepare kids for a life of following directions and waiting for someone to provide the impetus for action?
"By age 2, their daughter, Lydia, had a schedule of structured daily activities. Soon after, the lessons started: piano, French, fencing, and so forth. They wanted Lydia to have every advantage in the competitive climb. Lydia's sweet, but she's uncomfortable when there is 'nothing to do.' She'll declare, 'I'm bored,' while flipping on the tube. She waits for her folks to tell her what's next and then plows through the weekly schedule. When I ask her if she's having fun, she stares at me blankly.

While I don't agree that everything bad is good for you, Lydia's life reminds me that everything good can be bad for you. Flo and John haven't prepared her for the future but for today's workplace in which success and happiness depend on excellent performance according to prescribed criteria. This approach is making plenty of people miserable. According to the latest Conference Board report, only 14% of U.S. employees are very satisfied with their jobs; 25% say they're just showing up to collect a paycheck; and 66% say they can't identify with their employer's business objectives. Why get our kids ready for a world that's already in cardiac arrest? What will replace it?"

Via the Future of Work blog.

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