Friday, July 10, 2015

3 R's that ALL Kids MUST Learn

The 21st century has been over for 15 years. There are times when I'm excited for what the future holds, and there are times when I'm deeply concerned about the future of our country.  Whether it be abhorrent behavior, talking heads lashing out against the other side or insane things that people say or do to get attention, it makes me wonder if our country is moving backwards.   Then there are powerful acts that inspire me. Whether it is an image of a boy handing a police officer a bottle of water, or a girl raising awareness for autism, or people taking a stand against social injustice, I am moved to ask this question. 

What are the Most Important Skills All Kids must Learn to be a Productive Member of Society?

If you think about it, virtually every person in America has a solid grasp of the 3 R's of the 20th century (Reading, 'riting, and 'rithmetic).  Sure, we can continue to improve in this area, but there are very few people who are functionally illiterate in those skills when they graduate from high school. It is safe to say that we have surpassed the point where our ultimate goal is making sure every American develops those skills.  If we want to continue to make our country the best in the world, I think we need to adopt a new set of R's.  After all, those, who will have the biggest and most positive impact on our country, have them, those who are hurting our country don't.

The 3 R's of a Global Citizen
In addition to being able to show respect to everyone they encounter, respectable people are appreciated for the character that they display and actions that they take to make our world a better place.  They communicate respectfully to everyone, especially those that they disagree with.  We must teach kids not how to respect others but how to be respectable citizens.

The future of a society is found in the moral and ethic responsibility of its general population.  Personal responsibility affects all people.  If a person has no personal responsibility, someone has to pick up the tab, but if a person takes responsibility not only for themselves but for those that they live with, work with, and come into contact with, our world instantly becomes a much better place.  In school, we mustn't preach personal responsibility; we must teach it, model it and glorify it.

Life is tough, and whiners never win.  Only the strong survive, and resilience is the key to making it in this world. We must teach our kids how to look adversity in the eye and smile as they say to themselves, "You will not beat me!"  Resilience can't be taught. It must be earned through tough lessons, and we must provide kids the lessons to acquire this skill of strength. 

Selfish people never succeed.  They may accumulate more stuff, but it is only the selfless that will truly leave this world and this century better than they found it. The only way that our children develop this critical skill is when we consistently model it through our continuous actions in helping others.  We must show kids that the only way to live a happy life is through this philosophy of generosity.

Which Generation was Truly the Greatest?
The generation born in the 1920's - 1930's was dubbed America's Greatest Generation.  It was because of them that we came out of the Great Depression, won World War II and experienced the greatest economic boom in American history.  But was this generation the greatest?  I would contend that they were amazing and were the reason that our country became the greatest in the world, but I would also contend that they didn't become great on their own.  The generation before them instilled values that essentially embodied the 3 R's above, and if it weren't for them, the greatest generation may not have been all that great.

If we want our country to continue to be the greatest, we must remember that while the 3 R's of the 20th century are important, they pale in comparison to the 3 R's of the 21st century.  At the end of the day, the skills that will maintain our country's greatness will have little to do with reading, writing and arithmetic, but they will have everything to do with the ability to be a productive and contributing member of our society.  If our focus on learning doesn't include these 3 R's, then what kind of future are we creating?

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing these relevant thoughts on education today. I agree with your perspective. We do have to respond appropriately to the needs of the current education system in order to create the future we want. Thank you.