Preparing the digital child

Our children are in the digital age. Any forward thinking teacher and parent must, therefore, think in global terms if we are to prepare our children for a successful future.

Soon, the days when our main challenge is overcoming tribalism will be gone since this challenge is predominantly amongst us adults as opposed to our children. Today’s children are not bound by ethnic divides, at least not until we teach them they exist. This is true especially of the urban child and is becoming a reality even with those outside the urban areas.

The digital child sees far beyond the boundaries created by colonial and cultural legacy. Any child with a smart phone or access to a connected computer has probably had a conversation with someone outside Kenya. That is their reality and we must prepare them for it.

The emerging global citizen must be cultured in ways that supersede the Kenyan culture. In essence they must exude world knowledge. That means expanding their horizons to current events that are shaping the world and emerging global trends. They must understand that Africa is no longer the Dark Continent we were led to believe it was, but a place of opportunity and a hub of innovation.

Our children should be articulate, creative and open to new ideas. They are born that way. Then we ruin them. We stifle their creativity, teach them bad elocution and put them in boxes where our failed dreams and hopes become their daily companions.

As parents we expect them to be that which we never had a chance to be. In school the cycle continues, rote learning turns them into automatons, experiential learning is frowned upon as being new, therefore suspect. Then we marvel as we watch children from other countries speak with authority in Ted Talk forums and other world podiums. Those children are not special, their parents and teachers are.

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Our children are amazing. While not all may rise to be charismatic leaders, many have the potential to rise to places of significance within and without our country, to be truly transformational leaders.

The least we could do is equip the next generation with the tools to clean up the mess we have made.

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