We only have to go to the grocery store and notice where our food comes from, or look at the "made in..." label on products we purchase to know that we do live in a global society.
When my husband and I visit our daughters in Washington DC it is very evident that America really is a melting pot. The variety of ethnic restaurants, the different languages one hears spoken, and the diversity within neighborhoods reflect the many different nationalities and cultures that call the city their home.
In the future, all aspects of life will likely continue to be influenced by global trends. As the world changes to be more global, many new opportunities will be presented. Here are some suggestions of ways individuals and families can prepare for and take advantage of a changing world:
* Embrace culture. Each culture brings unique strengths to communities and society. Learn to appreciate your own culture and understand other cultures.
* Emphasize multiple types of learning. Children need to feel passionate about learning in many ways -- social, physical, cognitive, emotional. This attitude often comes from parents that feel passionate about learning as well.
* Gain new skills. Continuous learning is a good thing. Learning new technical, computer, social, and specialized skills not only adds to the spice of life, it may help you get or keep a job.
* Develop a niche. Becoming an expert in certain areas makes you valuable and useful. Developing expertise in a niche you enjoy is even better.
* Learn business skills. More and more people will likely enter into small business endeavors. Learning basic accounting, marketing, and entrepreneurial skills can be fun and help with future job possibilities.
* Learn a language. Adults in the future that are bilingual will be in demand in different job markets. Parents can set the example by learning a new language as well.
* Stay ahead of change. One can either be resistant to change or look at change as an opportunity. It is easy to say, "I don't like it" and do nothing. A person having an attitude that looks at change as a new chapter in one's book of life will likely be more prepared and enjoy the journey more.
* Travel. Seeing new places, new ways of living, and different cultures helps one appreciate their own life as well as the lives of others.
* Seek to understand. Understanding is the key to making connections. Connections in a multi-lingual, multi-cultural world will be key as we continually integrate over the years.
The world is becoming smaller, the world is changing, and the next generation will likely live in a very different world.
(Information taken from Connections newsletter, by Charlotte Shoup Olsen, Extension Specialist, Family Systems, Kansas State University.)
Editor's Note: Ann Ludlum is a K-State Research and Extension family and consumer sciences and 4-H extension agent assigned to Bourbon County. She may be reached at (620) 223-3720.