Adaptive Kids: Introduction

I'm going to try my hand at a new column/series called Adaptive Kids. How can parents, coaches, school teachers, and other mentors help small children grow their own inner adaptability? 

My ER/trauma nurse wife came home from work. Our young kids overheard us talking about her day's assignment in Triage, and they became curious. 

"Mom...what's triage mean?"

She and I tag-teamed the answer.

"On a summer day, if the ice cream parlor was busy, you might have to stand in line, right? It would be OK if the people who got there before you to got their ice cream before you got yours, right? You'd also expect that the people who got there after you to have to wait until you got your ice cream, right?

"A hospital emergency room doesn't work like that. It doesn't really matter when someone arrives. It depends on how sick or how badly they're hurt. The more sick and more badly injured people get helped before other less sick or less injured patients, no matter who got there first. 

"The triage nurses are the ones who figure out which patients should be helped in what order."

(or something like that!)

And the conversation continued.

For the last decade, I've became more and more interested in complexity, adaptability, and to some extent Agile. As I learn more & have been convinced of the power of adaptability, I've been seeking ways to nurture it in my own kids.

As part of my personal study, I've been assembling a list of concepts, principles, traits, mindsets, dichotomies, philosophies, behaviors, and characteristics of people, teams, things, plans, systems, tools, processes, environments, and functions that might be considered adaptive. (You might call them Agile, but I'll resist.) The list includes things that transcend any particular speciality or context....and are chosen specifically because they apply in a wide array of situations.

I'm certain these concepts, principles, traits, mindsets, dichotomies, philosophies, behaviors, and characteristics will help my children in their complex lives...where rote knowledge seems to be losing value.

In many ways, this is about teaching kids HOW to think much more so than WHAT to think.

I figure the schools aren't doing someone should, right?

Mind as well be me.

And I hope you'll consider joining me on this series.


How are you developing adaptability in your youngsters?


Lou Hayes, Jr. is a criminal investigations & intelligence unit supervisor in a suburban Chicago police department. With a passion for training, he studies human performance & decision-making, creativity, emotional intelligence, and adaptability. Follow Lou on Twitter at @LouHayesJr or on LinkedInHe also maintains a LinkedIn page for The Illinois Model


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