“Education’s purpose is to replace an empty mind with an open one.”
– Malcolm Forbes
We all essentially are teachers in our own right. Our younger generation will eventually inherit the earth and I for one will be a teacher to all younger people, who I cross paths with, and offer the best of what I know. I will also remain open to what they have to teach me because they are the greatest of teachers.
I would like to clarify that this post is in no way a dig at teachers. I have many friends who are teachers and are amazing at what they do. But they themselves were trained in a certain way and are told to present knowledge in a certain way. What I’m talking about is an overhaul in the thinking of what real education is.
Here are 17 things that should now be part of the education system:
1. To be a great leader
I don’t think in some ways you can teach people to lead, you can only be a great leader and let other people absorb those natural abilities. A core part of this is teaching our young folk to speak in front of people. That should be inserted into the curriculum.
2. To challenge conventional thinking
Conformity is a virus that needs to be quashed. Conformity gets you nowhere, those who think differently always go that little bit further.
3. To cherish all ideas
Every idea you have is a gem. If may not necessarily be ready to be used in that moment but keep it safe because you never know when that idea is going to be your king-maker.
4. To create a new path
Just because things have been done a certain way it doesn’t mean that there are not other ways. If you don’t like someone’s method, show children they can create their own.
5. To truly use information, not just remember it.
Memorising information is futile. The best way to remember is ultimately application. Once you’ve done something 10 times you generally remember. If you aren’t going to be doing something 10 times in your life, why are you studying it?
6. To cultivate gratitude
You can teach kids to pursue endless riches or to be grateful for what they have now. Not just general half-hearted gratitude, I mean real gratitude. Only with the understanding of contrast and relativity can you truly appreciate.
7. To really connect with people
In order to connect with people you really have to learn how to communicate with people effectively.
8. To use the power of decision
You can never be sure of what life is going to throw at you or what you will attract. The only thing you can be sure of is that you can decide how to respond in that moment. There is a space between that stimulus and response in which you can pause in the moment and become a detached observer and then decide. It’s a fun game.
9. To create a clear vision
Most young people have no clue how they want to spend their life. Maybe we should sit them down and get them to really think that regardless of possibility and no holds barred what would they like to do? Then you can chunk down to the small parts of each step of getting there and help them realise what they once thought was not possible is now only arms reach away.
10. That life is more than just a 9 – 5
We ingrain this into our children, that they are starting life to make money and that a 9-5 is the most secure way to go. It isn’t and quite frankly we are ripping out the souls of young people and turning them into zombies. It isn’t the only way live life and it certainly isn’t the best way.
11. To think for themselves
When in a group people often look to others and how they are responding because they don’t want to appear to be stupid or have an opinion that warrants adversity. We should be teaching them to think about where they truly stand or, at least until they reach that point, to get more data and then make informed opinions.
12. How to treat people
Where I play badminton there’s a man who never used to pick the weaker players, including some kids. Now, those kids are much better players than he or I. Because I treated them well they still pick me for games. They are reluctant to pick him because of they way they were treated. There’s a powerful lesson there.
13. To cherish the planet
There is a big trade off right now which is economics versus environment. We need economics but we also need a stable planet within which we can use those systems. Human beings bring in their interdependence.
14. To not compare themselves to peers
Only when success is compared to another is there a feeling of either superiority or inferiority. There is a certain amount of competition which is healthy but too much will lead to either of the above.
15. To play poker
This is both literal and a metaphor. I want kids to understand that life operates often in the same was as a hand of poker. You don’t always have the certainty of knowing what the next card to be laid down on the flop will be. But it’s the power to decide in the risk or to let it go and wait for the next hand.
16. That you never get there
Goals are there to be surpassed, not reached. So many people make a goal, get there, and think, is this all there is? They don’t plan further. The way around this is to teach kids that one they get close to their goal, to start thinking about the next level.
17. That everyone has a gift
Each and every single human being has a gift. Kids are not taught from an early age on how to recognise their own or to acknowledge it in others.