I believe that we should teach them how they can think for themselves, to truly think out of the box, to go where no one has gone, with the courage that we are born with, because it takes a lot of courage to be born. Imagine the terrors a child has to go through to get out of the womb into the world, the faith it needs to have in its parents, on whom it totally relies. I think a new-born baby is the most courageous a human being will ever get, so I think it is vital to allow our kids to maintain that skill.
I think we should create a world we all want to live in, instead of a world where we make a living. A place where humans can flourish, to be who they want to be. A world where we honor those who went first simply by following them. Admiration doesn't get you anywhere, because you get stuck in the adoration stage, where inspiration inspires to move, to change and to do.
One might think, 'I'm already doing the best possible for my child, he has a playstation, an iPad and a widescreen tv in his room. What else could I do? When he plays he seems to be happy'. In Permaculture we believe it is all in observation, so when you observe such a child, that has every toy it can possibly wish for, you wonder: does this child act gently and kindly, is it really so easy to raise it, does it play with real friends?
Children want all those things because of a lack of attention, most often they are plainly bored and seek for acknowledgement of their existence through things, but the best way to get it is through interaction with people and nature. One might say: 'they don't want to go outside, because they say it is boring'. That is only because we kept them away from it, a child has a 'natural' curiosity for nature, but we grown-ups tell them that it is dangerous to climb trees, playing in the park makes you get dirty and it is unhealthy or even poisonous to eat flowers.
If 'we' only knew that the mix of pollen, fibers and nutrients in a dandelion are like superfood to your child. Chances are it might turn it away after the first bite because of the bitter taste, but please allow them to experiment. Like animals our bodies are programmed, it knows what its needs are, especially a child, since it hasn't been indoctrinated by our society just yet. That is what happens when it watches the telly and plays those video games, it is being prepared to play its role in a disposable society of overconsumption.
Children often don't know what they want to be when they are grown up. From their perspective it is a complete waste of joy and opportunity to play when they need to have a day-to-day job, which demands them to sit still and send emails all day, only to go home and buy stuff to compensate the boredom. A child might not be actively aware of it but in its heart it knows this is not the reason why it came down to this earth.
What can we do?
Change the education system for sure, but on the short term start a veggie garden or grow something in the windowsill and get your children involved. Show them the day-to-day progression, allow them to make photographs if they find it difficult to grasp. You will see that the child gets enthusiastic about it and is likely to demand an expansion of pots because working with nature is pre-programmed in our genes, it's how we survived.
Such a child is likely to grow up as a healthy and caring individual since it understands that people, relationships and the earth need to be looked after, otherwise it dies off. All you need to do is expose them to nature, allow them to explore and just enjoy the feeling when you see their eyes twinkle when they speak about their seedlings.