May 18, 2024

Give Your Children Basic Skills

By Bob Kisiki

Sometimes you just don’t have the space (and grace) to take in some of the things you will hear. Like the other day, a friend told me about a class she teaches, where children — children (oh, the very irony!) — did not know how to write and send emails! Oh yes, teenage children for whom sending email was like manning an Airbus!

But think through this a little more. Have you heard modern children refer to a certain age group as BC? Those who were born before computers, thus the BC moniker? So if computers are their thing, why would a 17-year-old not know how to do email?

I will tell you why, and it’s so simple: someone has not helped them rise beyond using the gadgets at their disposal only for social media — WhatsApp, Viber, Instagram, Facebook, etc. See, we cannot help that our children are not the way we were — raised on a firm foundation of cherished values, set goals and practical religion. Yes, these things still exist and apply, but not as widespread and as dominantly as they did back in our day.

Times have changed. There are things that mattered in the past, that do not matter now; and things that not only did not matter in the past; they didn’t even exist at all, but they matter now — greatly. Like being tech-savvy. It’s no longer something we do for fun or to fi t in; it’s something that is directing the growth of communities, to say nothing about individuals.

Technology is now the bedrock of civilisations; of development and of livelihoods. The person who understands computers in their various forms — including the mobile phone and its various “cousins” — is the person who is likely to thrive. With information technology taking over a huge chunk of what human hands used to do, to master and even muster technology is to surmount over 50% of modern hindrances to survival.

Tell you what? Check if your child knows and understands basic technology. The phone. The standard computer. If they can check themselves in for a flight on their phone. If they can successfully do mobile banking. If they can navigate through online testing platforms, such as the TOEFL and GRE. That’s not all. Can your child type out a page of content without running out of what to say and not using that irksome shorthand they’re all accustomed to?

Parents should teach their children to use their gadgets beyond just social media

Can they write such simple and basic documents as application letters, resumes, support letters and the like? Can they design a web page or even create a simple application? Can they use such basic apps as Canva, the graphic design app? Can they do anything with their gadgets other than stay in touch with peers?

Such skills and others like them are what’s making a difference and leaving their inculcation into your children exclusively to teachers, could be detrimental. Most schools right now care majorly about what will help garner them more “outstanding” grades, so anything that lies outside of that sphere is sheer background noise. This is why you must take keen interest in whether your child has these skills and competences, or not.

The writer is a parenting counsellor and teacher

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