My daughter started kindergarden this morning. I teared up a little, but was mostly all smiles because I want to let her know that I whole heartedly encourage this first step toward independence and self sufficiency.
That's why I am baffled as to why some parents and educators disagree with states (among them Mississippi, South Carolina and Florida) requiring students to declare a major area of interest when they start high school, particularly since they can change their "major" at the beginning of each school year. What's wrong with that? It's not as if they are forbidden fom having other areas of interest or are being told that if they choose Cosmetology as a major in the 9th grade, they will forever be seen as a makeup artist.
The sooner kids learn how to focus on a significant area of interest, the better. An Old Testament Proverb says, "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it." (Proverbs 22:6) Asking teens, who are in training to soon undertake monumental societal responsibilities, to declare special areas of interest can only enhance their chances of long term success, particularly if they know they can change their minds throughout the high school experience.
The work environment for today's kindergarteners will be different from the current one in many ways. I have read that young people today are changing jobs numerous times during the first several years in the job market, and that keeping one job for too long can hurt your chances of advancing in your chosen field. Students who leave high school knowing how to focus and then reinvent themselves will be best prepared for the revolving job market.
And you know I have to say it: we must prepare the next generation for the Indie business lifestyle. Whether or not they ever own a business of their own, they must understand the relationship between a passion and the ability to make a living pursuing it. Choosing areas of interest when there is no risk in doing so is one way to help young people make that connection.
The ability to focus and then reinvent yourself is a learned skill. Asking kids to declare a major area of interest in an environment where the stakes are low forces them to learn that skill early. The sooner, the better.
What do you think?