Despite advances in artificial intelligence, what still distinguishes a computer from a person is self-learning. A person can learn independently. An computer has to be given information to put out information.
Humans are inherently creative—we can come up with novel and useful ideas. But the question is, “How do you raise kids to be more human and less like a robot?”
If you teach your kids to receive information instead of teaching themselves, then you end up with a robot-like result. Whereas if you stress self-learning and creativity, then you differentiate your kids from computers in the most significant way, and make your kids employable for years to come.
Get rid of most of the your household rules.
Parents who had fewer rules at home raised more creative kids. Wondering how many rules is “fewer”? One. One rule. I put my own household to this test. And I started wondering if “take your shoes off when you come in the house” count as a rule if you live on a pig farm?
And I found myself taking solace in the day my younger son asked me why he never gets grounded. I think he saw it like braces—something big kids do that he wants to be a part of. But regardless, his perception of our household is that there are very few rules.
Instead of teaching kids self-discipline we should teach them to decide when to follow the expected path and when to ignore the expectations. Alfie Kohn calls it moderation.
Another way to look at it is that grit is obsessive self-discipline, and refusal to disengage. Whereas deciding whether to exhibit perseverance is a more important skill. And it’s an inherently creative skill since you need to make up your life instead of following a proscribed path.
Stress the importance of taking criticism.
Research presented in the Harvard Business Review finds that good self-learners are people who can hear criticism calmly. And then—instead of taking it as gospel—evaluate it even-handedly and decide if the criticism is right or wrong. If the criticism is right, a g00d self-learner can take action.
Reward the child who does not want to be told what to learn.
The most creative kids are those who feel personally insulted when they are told what to think about. Creativity is the ability to produce novel and useful ideas. We each have the skill, to some degree. But these are traits that are preconditions for high creativity: independence, self confidence, risk-taking, internal locus of control, tolerance for ambiguity. Note these are all traits that one needs to subdue in order to get through conventional schooling. Which is another reason why kids who do poorly in school do so well in adult life.