Monday, April 30, 2007

"Playing at Professions"

Many times I have written and said that we need to reach the modern kids thru every type of learning possibility that arouses their interest. This article printed in last week’s WSJ, describes a system that appears practical and is being practiced in many communities other than in Japan. Learning experiences similar to this are practiced in our country but none seem to be gaining in widespread appeal.

The Article says “Job theme Park for children is huge success in Japan. A theme park that focuses on some 70 careers may not sound like fun and games, but the park that can accommodate 3000 kids a day, has been a huge success since it has opened in October. Advance tickets for weekends have already been sold out thru April. Franchise parks named “Kidzania” are being sold around the world but there are no immediate plans for a park in the U.S.”

“Behind the park’s popularity is the nagging worry in Japan that many young people lack the diligent work ethic of which Japan has been so proud.” Let me interject that this is more than a nagging worry in the U.S. but we seem mainly to complain about it. “More young Japanese are dropping out of jobs, and some can’t be bothered to look for even their first job. About 640,000 single Japanese are neither at work nor in school, compared with 400,000 in 2001.”

“Kidzania doesn’t allow any parents inside. They can watch thru windows of wait in the adult’s only lounge. On a recent day, 89 sixth graders visited the park from 63 miles away as part of their career-education program. The students did research before hand, analyzing their personalities to try to figure out what jobs might suit them best. The teachers stressed the importance of preparation. Children would, otherwise tend to chose the easy jobs or jobs in which they can eat, she explained.”

Kidzania concept is universal and could be developed anywhere says Ricardo Millan of Mexico where his founding company Kidzania de Mexico, SA is located.

There are great ideas all over the world as most countries are experiencing the same problems we have her; lack of interest, lack of responsibility and lack of a work ethic. Why, because we have too many systems and leaders out of touch with reality. We have cumbersome bureaucracies making work (everybody you ask says they are very busy and I sometimes ask, doing what?) and are using outdated methods of reaching many young people, especially those who come from uneducated, undisciplined and victimization obsessed families. Not to mention some drugged out and some absolutely undependable or to be blunt, too lazy. Others are so confused they can only look at their own problems and not their young kids.

After all, didn’t just 22.4% of registered adult voters, vote in the last election? Count the thousands who never took time to get registered or those who don’t keep their registration card current as they mobile around the community or country. Yes, I said lazy, I see them everyday.

With members of the black community complaining as there is not enough for kids to do, (recent articles in the JS) they might start out by teaching them a work ethic, responsibility, listen to their good teachers and counsel them hard about not getting into drugs and theft. That’s a start. There is plenty to do in this community but our schools, churches and social services must stop being mainly welfare centers.

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