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About Jon Thorne (the author of our handbook)
Jon Thorne spent 15 years developing new ways for employees to collaborate in some of the most complex organisations in the world. 8 years ago Jon gave up work to home educate his children. Jon's handbook summarises how his two worlds merged.
This handbook supports LifeSkills21.org and is a working document that is constantly updated.
LifeSkills21.org is a Not-For-Profit association for youth leaders and coaches who want to help young adults develop life skills that are more suited to their fluid stormy 21st century lives... than the more rigid traditional life skills being used to get young adults to maintain their membership of their groups by always meeting the needs of others to correctly follow a path.
What life skills are
When we are a young child, we tend to need a nurturing environment where we feel safe, comforted and loved by our parents and parent figures. As we grow up we tend to increasingly rely on life skills to deal with situations outside of our nurturing environment when our parents or parent figures are not present. Life skills to manage our own welfare.
If we have poor life skills we tend to have a poor balance between our needs and the needs of others. For example, we may always put meeting the needs of others above our own needs, even when doing so causes ourselves personal harm. Or, we may cause others harm by always putting our needs before theirs. This imbalance often means we feel unhealthy, unhappy, and feel we face an uninspiring future. Poor life skills tend to mean we have poor welfare. If we live with poor welfare for too long we can often open our own door to mental and physical illness.
Life skills that are not working for young adults in the 21st century
If we teach our young adults to always correctly follow the instructions of a teacher, a coach, a parent... our young adults could well be academically, technically and physically prepared for a calm, predictable, well planned life with life skills to always meeting the needs of others. Young adults may well have life skills to get their sense of belonging and sense of who they are... from joining rigid groups of like minded people who correctly follow the same path. Groups where kindness is helping others to correctly follow the path and equality is to give everyone an equal opportunity to correctly follow the path. Groups where those who refuse to correctly follow the path are seen as wrong and disrespectful and those who can't correctly follow the path as abnormal. Groups where membership is conditional on young adults correctly following a path.
Our stormy 21st century is increasingly likely to blow young adults of their paths. These path following life skills are not suitable for our young adults to get their sense of belonging and sense of who they are in the fluid 21st century. If young people are continually taught these path following life skills... more and more young people will find it increasingly difficult if not impossible to figure out where and with whom they belong in today's fluid, turbulent, globalised, mobile, interconnected and multicultural reality. Today’s young adults need a more suitable way to manage their own health, their own happiness, their own exciting futures… their own welfare… their own wellbeing that is more suited to their fluid stormy 21st century than the more rigid life skills often used to maintain membership to groups by always seeking to meet the needs of others to correctly follow a path.
Evidence the current approach is not working
The following is taken from a report by young minds (https://youngminds.org.uk/media/1428/wise-up-prioritising-wellbeing-in-schools.pdf)
There is a growing mental health crisis in our schools. An estimated three children in every classroom have a diagnosable mental health problem, rising to one in four when we include emotional distress.
Evidence shows that across the UK, mental health issues in children are increasing while child wellbeing is deteriorating. Young people today have to navigate a complex and ever-changing world, facing challenges and pressures in numerous aspects of their life. In fact, 90% of school leaders have reported an increase in the number of students experiencing anxiety or stress over the last years.
Concurrently, referrals to specialist mental health services nearly doubled between 2010-11 and 2014-15. As a result, NHS Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) are overwhelmed. Currently, just one in four children with a diagnosable mental health problem gets access to the treatment and care that they need. Despite improvements since Future in Mind, waiting times remain too long, and high thresholds for access to care are causing an unnecessary escalation of need.
Life skills that are more suitable for young adults in our stormy 21st century
It's about helping young adults learn life skills to get their sense of belonging and their sense of who they are from joining fluid groups that are full of people who kindly cooperate without any fixed ways of doing things. Groups full of people who use the lack of any fixed ways of doing things to accept themselves, accept others, and accept the circumstances the group is in. To use this acceptance to adapt their own choices to improve the balance between meeting their needs and meeting the needs of others...to be the best version of themselves in a group that is being the best version of itself. To kindly cooperate without fixed ways of doing things. These fluid life skills are far more suited to helping young adults figure out where and with whom they belong in today's stormy, global, mobile, interconnected and multicultural reality. And these are life skills that are increasingly being demanded by good employers and professional sports teams.
My handbook shares how coaches and youth group leaders can create fluid groups using life skills that are more suited to help young adults manage their own welfare in our stormy 21st century. Young adults develop these life skills by joining your groups.
The rest of this handbook will share…
- A more detailed look at what 20th century life skills are,
- What is happening in the 21st century,
- The impact of the 21st century on young adults using life skills for the 20 century,
- A more detailed look at what 21st century life skills are,
- A comparison between 20th and 21st century life skills, and
- How to set up and lead groups that use 21st century life skills.
Jon's handbook shares a set of life skills that are more suited to the lives of young adults in our stormy 21st century.