Some people look at the future with a sense of wonder, while others are terrified of what the future may hold for them. Still, some don’t even think of the future at all and just live their lives day-to-day. What should we encourage our students to do? Elementary seems awfully young to even think about a career, a family, retirement, yet one of the first questions we are asked in school is, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” While we understand that this decision will probably change several times before adulthood, the point of this exercise is to motivate them to work hard and do their best in school to achieve their future goals. Having a plan in sight is a great way to positively reinforce a good work ethic. But what about those who are warry of the future or couldn’t care less and live for the day?
Anxious About Change
Some students feel anxious about the future because of the fear of change. Even if that change is potentially positive, the fear of an unknown outcome can rattle a few nerves. Because they cannot see that far ahead, they feel they have no way to prepare for what might be coming. These students focus on what is in their control at present and do everything in their power to keep things running smoothly and resist change as much as possible.
Indifferent About the Future
Some students have no concept about the future because they are so busy being in the moment. They tend to be a little more disorganized and don’t stop to think about the decisions they are making; they just do instead of think. They aren’t in a rush to grow up, which makes us adults completely envious. However, the consequence of this type of thinking is that they seem unprepared for anything quite a bit. Everything catches them by surprise, and they have to make split section decisions to keep their heads above water.
Always Looking Ahead
These students have a plan for everything. They are always a step ahead of themselves. They are the ones to start multiple projects and have a million ideas in their heads. Not all of these types of students are welcoming the future. Some of these students plan for disaster or always have a worst-case scenario in mind. Rather than being excited about the future, they could be terrified.
So What is the Right Way to Live?
Should we encourage future thinking, or should we encourage them to enjoy being kids for as long as possible? First, we have to identify which one your student is. The COSEC for Kids (Cognitive Orientation & Social-Emotional Competency) is a unique personal aptitude tool developed specifically for kids under 13 years of age that follows our unique PCB (Perception Conception Behavior) model. The PCB model uses the individual’s view of the world (perception), how they process that information (conception), and how the relationship between the two influences an individual’s characteristics, traits, and preferences (behavior). Knowing how your student sees and interprets the world around them helps us understand how they respond in certain situations and environments and how and why they make the decisions they do.
The solution isn’t to pick the present or the future; it’s about finding balance. Students need to be able to cope with change, understand the importance of the future, and enjoy the moments they are living without being clouded by the “what ifs” they could possibly face. Our COSEC helps parents and educators develop strategies together with their students to help in areas where their students may be struggling and tap into their strengths to pave the way to a successful future.