Parenting in a VUCA World - UNACOV Fireside Chat

We live in an increasingly volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous (VUCA) world. Our planet, our world faces many unprecedented challenges. Along with prosperity, we have population explosion, poverty, violence, conflicts, increasing inequality, the environment, and global warming. We also face an epidemic of diseases of the modernized society, diseases of both the body and the mind: cancer, heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, obesity, autoimmune, autism, ADHD, chronic stress & anxiety, and depression.
Mental health is now a clear and urgent issue - the next major epidemic. Research shows that fully one in four youths in the industrialized world suffer from some form of mental health issues while growing up. Youth suicides and attempted suicides have gone up steadily over the years. Another shocking statistic: 22% of children in Singapore think about suicide. What we're seeing is only the tip of the iceberg, as the pressure, the expectation, and the stress of living in modern society continue to grow. For many, life increasingly feels like a treadmill that they can’t get off, while others experience a growing sense of loneliness, isolation, and disconnect despite living in an age of digital super-connectivity - with Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Tiktok, gaming, e-sport, etc - with everything going digital and all the attendant mental health challenges that come with it.

The current reality is clearly unsustainable; the need for a new approach is clear and urgent. We need a new way of thinking, a new mindset, new skills, to make new choices. Life is about making choices. The thoughts we think, the words we speak, and the actions we take – choices that we make individually – and collectively – create the reality of our world.

As parents, what roles do we need to play - what new seeds do we need to plant - what new choices do we need to make - what new skills do we need to teach - for ourselves and for our children - to help point the way to a new kind of reality for a better tomorrow - the reality of a kinder, gentler, more just, more inclusive and more sustainable world.
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