What does this mean for our children and for future generations?
While playing a game of handball with a 9 year I was struck by how many rules there are in a game of handball. Honestly…. Dubs, ever-ready, linesies, underlegs, there were about 20 more terms that I did not know, nor did I know the meaning of them and therefore the rules or complexity of the game in which they play day in and day out, which on the surface looked like the same game we used to play. I played handball in the playground and there were never that many rules, and they consisted of the obvious: in, out, doubles, lines, grabs, and while looking the same game played at 2 different generational times I could spot the similarities and the significant differences.
This got me thinking, are our children living in such a complex world of rules at such a young age that we were not exposed to? If so, will the complexity of their lives create a far bigger frontal cortex and therefore will this impact their decision making as adults and the complexities that the future invariably holds? My answer is yes!
These are children that still play like the other children with their own uniqueness thrown in as we did, but as I thought more about the games that they played and how they played them I was fascinated, the games are more vivid, they are more complex and they had more rules and meanings that I can ever remember at the same age. And this is for nearly every game that I observed, whether it is tag, handball, playing in the cubby house, or riding bikes.
The more I thought, the more questions I had…. Are the schools equipped to teach to this complexity? Are the assessments used by health professional’s complex enough to consider this and the norms? What do the norms say and show and have they been updated? Oh, you have no idea my head was spinning by this stage…
If from an occupational therapists view, the play (occupation) of a child is a window into where they are up to developmentally and what they are exposed to, how they think, what senses are stronger and which are weaker, then I had even more questions.
And my questions are based around several areas in regards to these children in the future:
- If the hot topic of organisations at the moment is ‘What Is The Future Of Work? Are they even looking at these children and the complexities in which they exist, because this will be at the fore of the culture that is created? Humans are relational and contextual.
- While technology is a dominant driving force it is still human generated and therefore teaching our children to understand relationships and contextual formats set them up to better understand how they fit, where they fit and how other relationships fit, whether it be a human or another living thing, or a piece of technology.
- We are living in a world of massive upheaval but not like previous generations and therefore the threats are different. Some are massive, some in context are national, some are community, some are organisational and some are within families and the interconnectedness of all of the above.
And herein lie my further questions…. If we step back and I mean way back, what are we looking at? Change, at a rapid rate and culture and how this impacts individuals, and therefore how do these individuals interact with each other, objects, and further afield.
When I look at children I know that my impact will be ensuring they understand first and foremost who they are (at their deepest level), this will grow and change and there will be ups and downs and lessons to learn, because from here they embark on any change around them and change as they are required to, and whether that be questioning themselves, others, situations and circumstances. I do believe that the children of today will have the answers to what the future needs, but we need to ensure they are well equipped in terms of values, beliefs and understanding who they are and how to deal with change.
Have a great week.