(An Education Parable)
THE EDUCATIONAL ROAD
Every parent wants their child to travel The Road. It seems safe. Most of us followed The Road and we know where it leads: Good grades, pitched competition, compliance, and credentials. But in a time of constant disruption and technological advancement, The Road has become costly and risky. The Road is too slow, too crowded, for the pace of change and it requires huge sums of money to traverse.
THE EDUCATIONAL PATH
The Path, however, as Robert Frost reminds, is less traveled. It is a winding and subtle adventure. Few have seen the end of The Path but the risks seem acceptable. Parents who are “Confidently Prudent” encourage their kids to take The Path. This is a straddled strategy. Not too risky, not too safe.
THE EDUCATIONAL JUNGLE
Then there is The Jungle. No road or path here. Only tangled weeds, brush, and hidden danger. But where there is danger there is also opportunity! In The Jungle, you can’t see more than a few yards in front of you.
In 2021, your child is in The Jungle.
Your child’s education is in flux. We can’t know what the world will look like in 5-years, let alone 10. But our educational model stays surprisingly stable. It doubles down on The Road… as if what got us here will help us where we’re going. It won’t.
Prepare your child for The Jungle
- Your child will need to know how to handle a machete — She will need to know how to make a path where none existed.
- Your child will need to know how to work with and learn from other travelers — He will need to know how to work in small, nimble, and regularly changing teams from across the globe. A standard “curriculum” is replaced with “learning networks” and “learning ecosystems.”
- Your child will need the confidence, creativity, agency, and entrepreneurial skills to solve any problem — They must never fear failure. Setbacks are only a setup for a future win. “Fail-tolerance” is now their superpower.
Ask yourself: Does your school teach your child to fear failure? Does your child feel shame when they make errors? Is your child growing more curious as they get older? Are they better problem solvers today than yesterday? The unfortunate answer for the vast majority of you is a resounding “no.” As a result, you — the parent — will need to get your child ready for The Jungle. That preparation begins now.
- Step 1 – Reflect on all that has changed in the last 15+ years since you were in school. Talk about it with your child. Try to imagine what learning should look like to ready your child for a changing future. Click here to see how well your child’s school is adjusting to the changes.
- Step 2 – Follow the steps outlined here to reimagine learning this summer. Maintain your daily check-ins as often as possible and see their progress.
- Step 3 – If you want to assess how well you and your child are prepared for The Jungle, click here to complete a 2-Minute Quick Assessment. I’ll give you my “diagnosis” of how prepared you and your child are.
This summer, try something new: Primary Source Interviews. Instead of learning from books, online courses, or YouTube, help your child learn from experts in the fields that are of interest to your child. Read this for inspiration.
The goal is to expose your child to the infinite learning that is available outside of the walls of school. The Jungle is full of opportunity but your child will need to learn how to make a path. Primary source interviews is the BEST way to begin making their path.
I can promise you that, if your child schedules an interview with an expert in a field of interest to them, your child WILL be inspired to 1) learn more about that field through traditional means (books, courses, etc), and 2) conduct more interviews to expand their knowledge. This is one powerful example of how learning can accelerate this summer and how your child can learn to thrive in The Jungle.
Remember, parents: The Jungle can be scary but it is far scarier to stay on The Road… If I can help, click here to schedule a free consultation to discuss.
Keep your machete sharp!