We have got to prepare the next generation for resilience and adaptiveness, not the replication of old patterns

We have got to prepare the next generation for resilience and adaptiveness, not the replication of old patterns
Photo by Bright Kwabena Kyere / Unsplash

We were talking with my nephew yesterday. He is 17, I am 56, and my mom is 83.

I was just reading from a beautiful book, Ecological Design, by Sim van der Ryn and Stuart Cowan. Waste could be the fuel for another process. We could use bioremediation. Isn’t this wonderful? Yes, it is. When you think in systems, this all starts to come together. It all starts to make sense.

But then why are we not? This book was written in 1996, and now it is 2022. Part of the purpose of this more private weblog is that I can share thoughts that are less-well-formed at the moment, so forgive me if all this does not come together, quite yet.

We have been sitting in a world that understood the solutions for its healing for many decades now. Isn’t that weird?

So the thing that made me feel so mad that I had to get up from my reading, and write something down, was that it makes me very mad that we don’t seem to have a way of telling the younger generation how to prepare for what is coming. We, ourselves, are too scared to look at it, so we turn our heads away, letting them deal with it later.

There is a common theme now, which is the younger generation being pissed at the older ones for leaving them with all this mess to clean up, because we spent all the carbon capital, or whatever. Well, yes, but can’t you see what we’re doing to them now? We’re not helping them prepare.

We need to help them prepare.

What I wrote down as I woke up this morning:

It's incredibly irresponsible of us not to give the next generation resilience skills they're going to need to manage what's coming up, just because we don't just because we find it overwhelming, or just because we're afraid of scaring them.

Like they don’t know they're coming into this. We're doing such a disservice to the entire world, to ourselves to the planet. Because people who are not prepared are much more likely to act recklessly and do silly, foolish things. Rather than be able to handle themselves and manage what's coming up

The salience points will ramp up, unless I am completely wrong and something else happens. But so far, this seems to be what is happening. Right? In other words, the thing we so sheepishly want to protect the younger generation from will become the obvious stories of how they are going to live their lives, so why are we worrying about upsetting them? Instead, prepare them to live in a world where a whole new set of skills are required, to deal with massive change.

These skills are very different from the ones required to follow the rules and replicate the past. They are far more generative and non-prescriptive.

Generative skills are things like:

  • Emotional resilience
  • Creative innovation and problem solving
  • Perspective shifting and systems thinking
  • Communication and relationship literacy
  • Business and financial dynamics
  • Community building

These are more building block skills. Whereas the old, prescriptive advice is more pattern based, and predicated on the idea that things will stay the same. But they will not stay the same. So, why are we still allowing kids to believe that? We are “passing down the traditions”, rather than preparing them for the future. It really bothers me.

We know how to do these things. As a people, we’ve gotten good at this stuff. We know how to do it, and we know how to teach it. But it is mostly relegated to the elite. A small segment of the elite.

I am not sure what to do with this yet.