Daily Beetle by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)
At one point in one’s life every adult wonders if it’s worth getting one. And I myself I’m at that point.
If it was up to my mother in law I should have had kids nine months after my wedding.
She is Cantonese-Chinese and still quite traditional. For her having kids is part of life, natural and something you owe to your family. I understand that… now. Doesn't mean I agree…entirely.
During an emotional whatsapp session (because that’s how we communicate the best) she asked me what I was waiting for. Why all the drama? Why couldn’t I just get pregnant? And although I was insulted at that time, I get where she is coming from. She became a mum in another country. She and my father in law couldn’t speak the language and had to work hard to be able to offer their kids a good life.
In her eyes I’m all dandy. My existence is secured and less stressful than hers. But every generation does have its own challenge.
We’re living in world with more than 8 billion people. Currently there is mass migration similar to the one caused by the Second World War. Science says that the way we are living is not sustainable. On a micro scale I also have to deal with being multi-cultural. Many people in Hong Kong are. I’m of Filipino descent but grew up in Germany. My husband is of Chinese descent who also grew up in Germany. We talk to each other in German and English. My kid will be Filipino-Chinese probably fluent in German and English and most likely meh in Cantonese and meh meh in Tagalog. It must be so much easier for people if there is clear affiliation to a nationality or a culture.
So yes, I do worry how I’ll raise my not yet existing little hybrid spawn. Of course I’ll try to raise a healthy little omnivore and hopefully will be able to offer it a wonderful “free range” childhood like any paleo person would. If evolution taught as anything it’s that the survival of the fittest at least for humans is a combination of luck, gumption and adaptability.
I can’t do anything about luck but might be able to do something about the other two.
Today I stumbled over an old news paper cutting I kept in an folder of mine. The title of the article is the full span by Eve Jardine-Young who is the principal of Chelternham Ladis’ College, UK
She says to enjoy the longer lives afforded by medical advances, pepple must learn to become ever more adaptable.
- I did not remember why exactly kept the article so I kept reading.
In reasonably affluent societies, life expectancy is now increasing at around half an hour per day.
It means that anyone under the age of 20 has a 90 per cent chance of reaching and exceeding the age of 100.
- That means the majority of our lives we’ll be annoyed by those damn kids hippity hop music.
All children currently in primary education, who were all born in the 21st century, are more likely than not to see the dawn of the 22nd century.
- So if they reach their hundreds… they probably have owned an average of 30 cellphones… if they’re from HK most likely 50
This has profound implications for our roles as teachers, preparing them for working lives which are likely to extend to being great-grandparents while still in full-time employment. When working for the United Nations, Mark Malloch Brown said the illiterate of the 21st century would be those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn, and it was therefore essential that our education of children now provided them with a passion for lifelong learning, so that their ability to adapt sustained them through life.
-This is the intellectual equivalent to making kids like Brussels sprouts
The foundations for leadership are best laid by nurturing the development of a clear sense of self, and a personal value system that is based on an authentic and deeply held set of beliefs about how to behave, how to treat others, and an acceptance that our lives are all interdependent.
- In short: Don’t raise assholes… or kids which will most likely be assigned to Slitherin.
In a more complex world, to lead others we will need to become more confident about making decisions based on imperfect information, choosing not only to do things right, but to do the right thing.
- This bit is interesting
Pupils need to begin to make choices to learn because they see its value, and they enjoy the challenge and lasting joy that it can bring. Developing skills of language acquisition will become more valuable than learning any one language at school because over such long lifetimes we may well wish or need to learn new languages as adults, and to be receptive to that. Learning how to learn will become more valuable than learning any one set of data or bank of knowledge.
- I’m really bad with languages. 10 years in Hong Kong and I learned 1% Cantonese. I’m also not good at Maths… but based on the current progress I’m pretty confident that that fluency shouldn’t be on my bucket list
Refining communication skills in order to negotiate, persuade and influence others as we come into contact with a greater number of people will equip our children to be self-determining and self-sufficient. Celebrating the likelihood of more than one career, and avoiding "pigeon-holing" ourselves or our children can be a wonderfully energising and enabling approach to parenting.
Above all, perhaps, we need to reflect that a 100 years is an awfully long time to be unhappy.
-people who voluntarily stay miserable for more than 2 seasons of any Netflix series are just sourpusses… sourpussies… sourpussesses
However successful we are by the most evident measurable indicators, we need to be at peace with the choices we have made in life, and to have the courage to make the changes needed if we are not. For each of us, knowing what personal choices will lead to a deep sense of fulfilment brings the opportunity to live abundantly, if we are honest with ourselves and with each other.
As part of a good education, we should encourage the sharing of reflective practice, and nurture a register of language that allows us to fail well, rebuild, adjust, adapt, refine, create, restore and support each other in the societies that we will be sharing with our great-great-grandchildren.
And yesterday I watched a vlog video on youtube by entrepreneur guru Pat Flynn who was reviewing a book called The Art of Apprenticeship by Azul Terronez. Pat said that he’s reading some of the chapters to his son who just entered kindergarden.
And here’s what he’s got to say about failure.
Many of you Asian listeners who were so lucky to be raised by tiger-moms or dads know that failure wasn’t really an option. And getting a C was definitely a failure. For my mum it was important to work hard and get good grades as education is the thing which will last in life. Tigerparents were more common my parents’ generation. Nowadays you have an interesting mix of tiger parents, helicopter parents and little emperor worshippers.
Although tiger parents are often viewed as too ambitious and too strict I think they were on to something at least about who has the ultimate say in the family. That does not mean that I’ll let my kid knee on chopsticks and have them recite the past tense forms of irregular English verbs but I’ll make sure he/ she knows that it can’t throw a tantrum just because I wouldn’t buy a curly-wurly. Because my mum would have given me shit for that.
Those of you who have ever experienced the wait-until-we-get-home look from a pissed-off Asian mum know what I’m talking about…. There was always the chance that a trigger-happy slipper would be involved.
For my parents it was important that I’d become a proper adult which might have taken a while but happened eventually… I think. While Eve Jardine-Young underlines the importance of children being motivated to learn, Pat Flynn points out that young children have already an innate curiosity and drive to learn.
The challenge is to keep that spark alive.