Smart Kids Are Adaptable

Adaptability is cultivating our unique blend of multiple intelligences to give us choices for resolving the problems we face. This means being goal-oriented, but also having a respect for different ideas and versatility in problem-solving.

If there?s anything that?s guaranteed other than death and taxes, it?s change. In the space of 50 years we?ve experienced more changes than in the previous 150; and in some cases, more changes in the last 10 years than in the last 50. Computers have gone from being room-sized and slow, to being hand-held and very fast in just the past 30 years. I recently observed a 5-year-old zipping through games on his I-Phone ? games with plots and languages that I don?t understand!

Jobs that were readily available 40 years ago are no longer there because of technological innovation, and new jobs have been created as a result of other innovations. Many years ago I visited a Boeing Fabrication Plant in Washington, and observed one person run a house-sized machine that took the place of 13 former metal-workers. Lost jobs, with no promise of other similar jobs to take their place; but a whole new world of tech-oriented jobs that were yet to be named.

We live in a global world now ? where Spanish, French and Latin were once the foreign languages of choice, schools now have Japanese, several dialects of Chinese, German, Arabic and Thai. While discrimination is still there in varying degrees, the fact is that there are more and more children and young adults of mixed heritage in race, language, and ethnicity; which has deep implications for our economy and culture.

The earth is also rapidly changing, as demonstrated by melting glaciers, loss of marine and animal species, and more unpredictable weather. We fret that our schools and communities and government institutions haven?t changed rapidly enough, and we may be right.

But the answers do not lie in debating the value or efficacy of America?s educational model versus those in Finland or Japan or Germany. Those societies have much more centralized control over their schools than we do, for one thing. And for another, by the time the politicians and pundits come to any type of resolution for the rest of us, your children will be grown and on their own.

This is not to say that our schools can?t, or don?t need to, improve ? they can and they do. But it does mean that we (parents and kids) need to stop pointing the finger at someone else ? schools, politicians, the government ? as the culprit that causes all our problems; and start doing the things we need to do, and can do, now.