I don’t have kids and I am not planning on having any. But sometimes, my imagination wanders and I am thinking about what I would teach them if I did have them. I believe these are the most important values that will create a happy and fulfilled next generation:
1. Independent thinking. As human beings, we tend to follow the herd and do what others do. This is not necessarily a disadvantage but that should not keep us away to look at societal norms and other thought processes critically. Just because everyone does it, does not mean it is right. When kids grow up learning to look at the world critically they will be able to change it too.
2. Self-confidence. Being confident is not easy these days because we are constantly judged, especially kids in the world of Instagram, Youtube and Facebook. Everywhere kids look, they see good-looking, perfect people. Imperfection seems to be frown upon. But they forget that they only see a slice of that seemingly perfect life of others. Instead of comparing themselves to others they need to learn to love and respect themselves for who they are.
3. Authenticity. Be real. In the age of filters and other reality-distorting apps, kids are taught to imitate a perfect version of themselves rather than being who they are. But it is crucial to be loyal to the real inner self with all their imperfections. If kids are happy with themselves they can be happy with their surroundings.
4. Experience over materialism. In a world of abundance and over-consumerism kids grow up with a skewed value of materialism. Materialism always has been a status symbol. However, increasingly, people are not able to identify themselves with anything else anymore than with their belongings. Money should be invested in experience. It creates lifelong value.
5. Learn English. This seems out of place from the other points but nowadays English is a must. English is the language of the internet. It opens doors to anything. If there is one subject kids should pay attention to, it shall be English.
6. Support. In such a fast-moving world with superficial connections kids can easily feel lost. Giving the next generation well-grounded support, they carry the feeling of belonging with themselves, no matter where in the world they currently are – one of the most important values and per-requisites to the values above.
Growing up in such a digital, inter-connected world requires a different skill set and values than 50 years ago. Whether you have kids or not, what values and skills do you believe are required for a successful next generation?