Our Kids Are Ready To Handle The Future – We Just Have To Let Them Have It.

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Guest post from my friend Seth Clifford, who can follow on Twitter.

As an educator, I take it upon myself to try and impart children with knowledge; to feed their brains with as much as I possibly can for the short time I have them in my class. I’m good at it, and I enjoy my job immensely, which means that they, in turn, enjoy my class. It doesn’t hurt that I teach computers, which happens to be a great source of fun and intrigue for them, as technology dominates the landscape of our world, and will only continue to do so in the future.

But there’s another side to being in charge of young minds, and it’s something a lot of us – even other educators – don’t always grasp. We have to be the examples of not just how to succeed at academics or work, how to win – but how to live with each other, and with our environment; how to strike a more perfect balance with what surrounds us and affords us the fragile lives we have. We need to teach children how to be better people – better humans – and not just how to reach the top.

It is for this reason that I began talking to my students in the 7th grade about electronic waste and the impact that it has on our world. We all know about that, so I won’t reiterate those lessons here. The lesson I try to teach my students is not as specific as that particular topic, though. I try to teach my students about choices, consequences, and the path they decide to take through their lives. You might be thinking, “Well, isn’t that a bit much for middle school kids to comprehend?” and the answer is no.

Physiologically speaking, their bodies are growing at exponential rates at this age. Couple with this a hunger for knowledge that is still young and curious enough not to be jaded, yet advanced enough to understand abstract concepts and how they affect the world around them, and you get a captive audience, and one whose understanding of a world outside of text messages and their group of friends is only just dawning.

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  1. Thanks so much for this post! You’re absolutely right that it’s important for us to address the most challenging issues of our time with young people, and help them think creatively and critically about how to help create a compassionate, sustainable, just world for all.

    That’s exactly what the students and graduates of our M.Ed. and certificate programs have been doing for years: reaching out to youth (as well as adults) and providing them with the motivation, skills and knowledge to become positive changemakers. Whenever we talk with youth about humane issues, we find that not only are they hungry for this kind of information, they often have terrific ideas for helping solve the problems that generations before them have created. In fact, some students are even angry that they’ve never heard about the impacts of their choices before.

    This is such an important topic. I’m so glad to see it addressed here.


    Web Content/Community Manager
    Institute for Humane Education

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