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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Advice for the Parents of the Heatly Class of 2023

Among my favorite quotes is this statement from Alan Kay, one of the original creative leaders of Apple Computer.
"The best way to predict the future is to invent it."

Although I often think of the message within these words, this quote is increasingly relevant as we approach the start of another school year. We expect to welcome the Heatly class of 2023 to school in a couple of weeks. Who knows what awaits these boys and girls in the future, after they cross the stage to receive their diplomas? Who can remember what it was like thirteen years ago, in August of 1997, when the young men and women who just graduated from Heatly last June were preparing to begin Kindergarten?

We can all chuckle at the differences in prices of various household items between then and now, or laugh at the big changes in pop culture. Few of us want to even peek at photographs (remember them before digital cameras?) of ourselves back then for fear of embarrassing hair styles and funny looking clothes. You were real neat when you were rockin' out carrying around your Compact Disc Walkman, but not the cool dude that you are today toting your IPod and earbuds. Many popular brand names have disappeared during that time and replaced by hot upstart products. Forget about flipping through catalogs or waiting in long lines at the store, you can find what you want via Google and buy it with Paypal.

I could go on and on (except it makes me feel older!!) but you get the point. The rate of change has accelerated at unpredictable levels. Who knows what daily life will be in 2023?

That brings me back to those five year old children we will welcome to school on September 8th. We can't predict what the world will be like on their graduation day. The National Department of Labor will explain that one out of every five types of jobs that exist now, did not exist  in 1997. We are preparing children for an uncertain future with unknown challenges. What can we do to ensure their success? We can equip them with effective skills in literacy, numeracy, and interpersonal communication. We can nurture their dreams and sustain their hopes. Most of all, we can prepare the child for the path rather than try to prepare the path for the child. That's my advice for parents of the class of 2023 - as we work together to help invent the future!

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