If you haven't already noticed, the days when people stay with a single employer for the rest of their lives have gone the way of the dinosaurs, along with artisan skills that take a lifetime to master.
I just finished watching an episode of the n-th iteration of the Condor Heroes, where physical pugilistic skills were the key barter for food, money and respect. Nowadays, such physical skills will only earn you a place in the CID's blacklist of "disturbers of public peace".
The Industrial Age has come and gone, and with 2 World Wars to show for it. It has taught humans how they can improve their productivity (and destructive capability) through automation – how products superior to what they can make with their own hands can be churned out in minutes in the exact same dimensions and functionalities. And it is no longer about who can produce the most products, but rather who can create new products with features that make their predecessors completely obsolete and redundant.
We have been in the Information Age for the last half century, where knowledge itself is now desired and marketable as an end-product called intellectual property. It was not so long ago that people equated time in Information Technology to dog years – what took 7 years to complete is now done in 1. The scary thing is that this phenomenon is not only true, but has already permeated throughout our global economy. With information being available at an instance without having to go and pour through thick books in libraries or news archives, a research that would have taken 7 months to do can easily be done in 1. We suffer not from the lack of information, but rather the lack of time or tools to process the information as effectively as humanly possible.
It is against this very stressful backdrop that we are bringing up our kids. We may not know how the future will pan out, but what we know for certain is that things will only move and change faster. In the future, it will not be surprising that people will have an average of 20 jobs in their entire career. It is not about loyalty to a company, but what is the value you bring to the company, and how your experience in that company will create the momentum for you to move on to your next job.
The key to success is agility. And the only way to achieve agility is to have the ability to learn and adapt quickly to changing conditions. We must teach our children the joy of learning, that the subject they are learning is not the end, but more importantly, the learning journey itself. It is not about mastering math or science, but rather, the process we took when learning the subjects. We must teach our children to use tools that can accelerate their learning, so that they can pick up new skills quickly and effectively. We must open the minds of our children by bringing to their awareness things that are happening around them, expose them to as many new skills as possible, and give them every opportunity to explore new areas by themselves.