Tomorrow Castle

Adaptive intelligence is what we (and our schools) need to strive for
Photo Credits: Willy Ronis, Vincent, model aircraft flyer, Gordes (Vaucluse), 1952.
March 28, 2024
Let’s imagine that 100 years from now, curious beady-eyed aliens will journey from a distant galaxy with the sole mission to investigate life on planet Earth. What do you suppose they’ll think of us earthlings and our customs? Will they witness peace, agreeable climate conditions, clean air and water? Or will they witness a world plagued by human-inflicted calamities—-cast under a brooding milieu of fear, pandemics, arms of mass destruction, and erratic climate. Will they see us as intelligent and well-adapted, or as ego-driven and passive to our sociological and environmental troubles?

The real question here is, can we dream of castles in the sky, and actually build them? Are we preparing our Leaders of Tomorrow to roll up their sleeves to live the life we dream for them?

It’s all a question of intelligence, but intelligence has many faces—Emotional, Social, and Analytical Intelligence, to name a few. Our educational system has always been designed to increase one in specific: General Intelligence, the kind that focuses on cognitive processes supporting performance on an IQ test. But is it possible we’ve lost sight of the fact that this kind of intelligence might not entirely serve us, given our modern circumstances? Should not our schools also be fostering a more practical, more self-serving kind of intelligence? What our pure and eager young learners need is a Start Degree in Questioning, Re-evaluating, Intuiting, and Remodelling. What we all need is schooling that will make us earthlings proud one day, and impress any such nosy future Martians.

Are our schools instilling the knowledge and skills to tackle the ongoing and new challenges of today and our future? Are they addressing issues around abuse of power, interpersonal and global relationships, and physical and emotional wellbeing? If there is one single intelligence our schools should be striving to foster more of, it is undoubtedly Adaptive Intelligence.

So what does Adaptive Intelligence entail exactly? Well, those “adaptively-inclined” carry the smarts to mold themselves better to their environment, and are reciprocally, keen enough to mold their environment to better fit their needs and desires. Someone with Adaptive Intelligence bears the insight to discern what governs and where they can find their best mental, physical and emotional lifestyle.

Report cards and grades, awards and degrees, and the prestige of an education all do matter, of course. But what truly counts is what will prepare students to create a better future for themselves. We need a different mindset for these young creative explorers. We need a mindset for them that doesn’t prioritize personal gains at the expense of their environment or personal and social wellbeing. Why not give everything these budding Strivers need to make our and their Tomorrow a better place?

Schools’ testing and teaching methods could be re-thought to prioritize real-world problems of today, issues ranging from interpersonal challenges to pressing global issues. Polycrises that include geopolitical instability and distrust, multinational corporate abuse, pollution, gun violence, inequality, and terrorism… Personal aspects around diet, fitness, love, and relationship… Schools could transcend traditional test and textbook conundrums and maximize the importance of Adaptive Intelligence. They could realize that they and these impressionable students carry the power to solve our modern-day issues and to hopefully prevent new problems from arising altogether.

BUT

Since we as parents do not singularly hold the power to alter the schooling systems today, we can do our best to inspire our children with this knowledge in mind. The best we can do is offer guidance and discussions regarding these relevant ideas:

— that treating people and the planet with kindness and respect is fundamental to build a lasting, loyal community.

— that in a world with fewer and fewer boundaries, and more and more social media manipulations, learning ways to fence our dignity, our sense of individuality, and our privacy and personal space is crucial.

— that offering something better and not just something more in a world oversaturated with choice is especially important, as it becomes clearer and clearer that our world cannot sustain our abusive and self-centered demand from its resources.

— that possible solutions to improve our world should take everyone into consideration, and that products and services should be made to last and be loved longer.

— that in a world under the spell of everything bigger, better, faster, and stronger, shrinking our interactions to a more personal, human level is crucial.

— that honesty, authenticity and humor will be the best ways to gain trust.

— and that setting our own individual metrics of success and happiness outside of societal expectations can ensure new, healthier and better realities for everyone.

We are our children’s first and constant mentors. But first, we are obliged to open our eyes and remove the blinders that have limited our vision. As parents, we have a pressing responsibility, to catapult them in their quest to become Aces of Space, Time, and Self.

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