“Sustainability or sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present, without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
I write today both as a parent and as a professional who wholeheartedly believes in “future-proofing” children. Preparing our children for a future that we aren’t even
sure about can feel daunting and unachievable yet there are known certainties that enable us to question what we can do.
How are we enabling children to identify and meet their basic needs?
We know that our children thrive in healthy environments where they have continuous access to basic services and resources, such as safe water, sanitation, adequate nutrition, good health, quality education, clean air and energy. We can ensure that we teach our children to become independent and demonstrate how to practice self-care; especially that extending beyond their own needs, there are others with their own needs.
How are we empowering agents of change?
We understand that children thrive when they are personally successful. When we ask ‘What are you going to be when you grow up?’ – we imply that there is only one thing that a child could be. Instead, when we are curious and enquire ‘what is it you love to do? what are you interested in?’– we open the doors of possibility to a future beyond the life that we have lived. When we let go of seeing our children as extensions of ourselves and we empower them, then our children become agents of change.
How are we building interpersonal skills?
Resilience – learning that it’s OK to fail sometimes – is one of the most critical skills children will need to be able to adapt in the future, but it’s also one that our culture of helicopter parenting is depriving many children of. Our children are being brought up in a risk-averse society where we’re so overprotective and it’s so results-driven. Our children need to be gritty – the values of gratitude, resilience, integrity and tenacity are fundamental when it comes to being able to bounce back from failures and when communicating with others.
How do we practise sustainability?
To future-proof our children, we help them learn how to look after themselves: spiritually, emotionally, physically and socially; we enable them to grow a ‘carpe diem’ mindset, we help them be self-starters and we model the character and values that will enable our children to use their unique talents to do something that not only gives them pleasure and purpose yet also which goes a little way in giving back to the wider community.
Melissa L. Carter
Family Life Coach