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Preparing for the Next Generation Published: Wednesday, May 26, 1999 By: Dr. Manuel Angel Morales

Parents are deeply interested about their children`s future, and they want to learn on how to help them prepare for it. This has been our experience around the whole island, working with Our Children First Congress. Families are struggling to develop a proper framework to support and counsel their children. They realize that never before has it been more crucial to provide such education and guidance. The complex questions they are facing are: What can we do for our kids? How can we better prepare our kids for an uncertain work world? What should our kids study at school?

One of the key premises of the work being done around the island, by the First Lady, Maga Rosselló, is helping families to think of children and youth as requiring full helping of security, protection, firm limits, and clear values, and having faith in their abilities to cope with a different world. The purpose is to develop a massive campaign on nourishing the young. The challenge is about promoting emotional intelligence, intellectual curiosity, versatility and spiritual growth. Emotional literacy includes social skills; sensitivity to your own and other`s feelings; being able to read situations; empathy; optimism; managing conflict; and the ability to manage one`s feelings. In short: foster interdependence and learn to talk the language of feelings. Daily experiences are live laboratories. Academic performance is only part of the story.

In the knowledge society it is impossible to function effectively without the capacity to think, understand, and interpret complex information. This is very important, as children will increasingly need to make decisions based on incomplete or ambiguous information. Thus, kids need to know: how to learn; how to question received wisdom; how to develop hypothesis; and how to understand the difference between a hypothesis and a fact. It is like the distinguished researcher on creativity, Ulises Pabón, has stated; children need to be able to think creatively and to be curious about the world in which they are living. They will be interacting with people who will bring to the table diverse backgrounds, cultures and disciplines. The capacity to understand and evaluate information in a broader social context will be at a premium.

Let us share with readers a quick test, prepared by Barbara Moses, on what are your children learning about work from you?

  • Do your children know how you earn your living?
  • Do your children know who your clients and customers are?
  • Do they know what gives you the greatest sense of satisfaction at work?
  • Do they know what your major headaches at work are?
  • Do they know how you feel about your work overall?
  • Do they feel that you have neglected them in order to meet work demands?
  • Do they think about your job and your income as guaranteed?
  • Do they understand the importance of always being up to date with your skills and learning? The profound logic of the Our Children First Congress is that if we nurture the healthy qualities of the next generation, we will create a society in which people will be proud to live.

Copyright 1999 QBS, Inc.
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