Been thinking on the question I posed at the end of this post.

I’m beginning to wonder if some of the more critical “21st Century Skills” that we need to foster in our kids and in ourselves include the ability to assess and effectively respond to the stress created by some of these realities….what would you add?

  • Overwhelming choice and opportunity–because we are bombarded by options, whether it is brands of ketchup on a supermarket shelf or numbers of channels and networks to engage in or bountiful learning experiences that are free and open to our constant participation. Stress isn’t always distress. We need to manage eustress as well and help our kids do the same.
  • Noise levels–increased by the scale and reach of our social networks on the ground and online, the constant stream of conversation and chatter
  • Interpersonal tension–naturally aggravated by the fact that we are connected to more people more often whose behavior we cannot control
  • Setting and recognizing boundaries–saying yes when we mean yes and no when we mean no and respecting the boundaries set by others online and off
  • Acting courageously–the choices we are called upon to make in order to protect our privacy, set boundaries, manage noise, get along with others, ensure the quality of our work, and capitalize on the many opportunities provided us requires us to act with courage more and more often. Grappling with the fear of acting courageously can be pretty stressful.
  • Defining who we are, what we love to do, and how we can possibly make a difference—again, with so many options and possibilities now open to us, doing this important work becomes far more complex
  • Knowing who we aren’t, what makes us unhappy, and what our limits are–I’m realizing that those same options and possibilities illuminate these dimensions of ourselves with greater frequency. We need to help ourselves and our kids understand that this is a good thing. It can help us prioritize and make strategic choices.
  • Sharing and giving rather than owning and taking.
  • Constantly seeking understanding and being increasingly critical consumers. This requires a tremendous amount of energy and generates significant stress.

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