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A Capacity Crowd at Future-proof Your Child Launch

Future-proof Your ChildGraeme Codrington & Nikki Bush When Graeme Codrington, co-author of Future-proof Your Child, moved his family to London, he discovered that his three young daughters did not know how to cross a road. Accustomed to being driven everywhere, these Joburg dwellers had to shift their knowledge of road safety – which their parents had dutifully taught them – from theoretical “head knowledge” into life-preserving practice.

At the well-attended launch at the Indaba Hotel last night, Codrington said that writing the book with co-author Nikki Bush had not been an academic exercise. By moving his family into a new environment he was living the theories propounded in the text.

Nikki BushA multi-media presentation flashed a series of mind-boggling facts about the speed at which the world is changing on to two huge screens. To a clip of David Bowie and Freddie Mercury’s “Under Pressure” it was brought home how true the maxim is that the future isn’t what it used to be.

The facts and figures are profoundly astonishing: every day some 3000 books are published globally; some 92 000 text messages were sent per second in 2007; kids are more screen hungry and brand conscious than ever before; for the first time in human history you have four generations in the work force; and educators and parents are trying to prepare children for jobs that don’t yet exist because the technology hasn’t been invented.

Alison LowryAt the end of the presentation, Codrington said, “This is a remarkable world. It is an amazing world, frightening and fascinating.” As if in agreement, a loud clap of thunder rumbled through the auditorium: this was a fact that did not go unappreciated by the gathering of some 200 parents and educators.

And yet for all the change in the world, the developmental needs of childhood have not changed.

Graeme Codrington“How do parents balance the needs of a newborn baby when as functioning adult humans, they hardly understand what is going on in the modern world?” said Codrington. “The question is: What do parents need to know about tomorrow today, in order to prepare their offspring for the future?”

When it came to crossing the road, the author said he knew how to teach his daughter, Hannah, how to do so because his own parents had taught him how to do it. “But our parents didn’t have home computers when we were growing up. When it comes to crossing the superhighway that is the Internet, do we know to look left and right? Do we, as parents, even know what the rules are?”

For parents who are justifiably concerned about their children’s future, this is the book that may well provide some much-needed guidance and reassurance.

Photo Gallery

A capacity crowd Janine Veening, Justine Heydra, Alison Kroeger & Lindi McNally Dirk Cilliers & Rob Peel Vanessa Ridgway & Bronwyn Dykes Bianca Sheriff & Karen Williams Priscilla Davidson, Taryn & Bel Tomlinson, Justine Heydra Marilyn Prendergast, Fiona Willis, Kerry & Mike Sewell Anthony Askew, Paul Booth & Moira Sheridan Jane & Pete Laburn, Graeme Codrington Nikki Bakker, Lynda Smith, Eleanor & Kevin Scott Bev Weir, Chez Bassett & Cindy Bell Co-authors Graeme Codrington & Nikki Bush

Book Details

 

Recent comments:

  • <a href="http://sveneick.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Sven</a>
    Sven
    October 30th, 2008 @15:07 #
     
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    What with overpopulation, limited resources etc, I think the sequel should be on how to child-proof the future.

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  • <a href="http://margieorford.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Margie</a>
    Margie
    October 30th, 2008 @15:25 #
     
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    It is an odd notion - this current obsession that this future (the one tomorrow) is somehow cataclysmically different. I can imagine that people who come from Joburg might need help adapting to a place with walls less than twenty feet high. But - speaking as a mother of three, so there you go automatic biological authenticity - children need to present-proof themselves a bit. Our parents might not have had laptops but they had some weird stuff - mincing machines, coal scuttles, manners even. all kinds of things that seem obsolete - I did think of a recent article I read in the Financial Times about how to deal with parents who come to job interviews with their adult children...now, helping a kid not get flattened by a truck is one thing, but preventing them from getting flattened by the adult reality of not always getting what you want is another. I have to say I moved my three children (4, 7, 10) to New York City. From Namibia - and they adapted the survival skills they had there very quickly and soon aced one of the biggest cities on earth. but I suppose they had had my method of benign maternal neglect to start with so they were kind of used to figuring things out and getting going.

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  • <a href="http://www.moxyland.com" rel="nofollow">Lauren Beukes</a>
    Lauren Beukes
    October 30th, 2008 @16:34 #
     
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    I'd much rather future-prep my child, so she's ready to seize opportunity and technology with both paws as its evolving in ways we can't begin to imagine now (like our parents trying to conceive of the Internet). Heck, she made her first appearance on youtube at 13 weeks of seedling.

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  • <a href="http://sveneick.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Sven</a>
    Sven
    October 30th, 2008 @16:41 #
     
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    Margie, while I'm sure the marketing team for the above book is going to find that comment very unhelpful, I am in complete agreement with your above points (although a couple of seminars on road crossing by the authors would not be remiss for those South Africans who habitually participate in this activity along Main Road in Cape Town).

    Not that the idea of future proofing your child isn't a good idea... I'd slap in:1. The difference between things you can eat and actual food.2. Learning how to think instead instead of what to think.3. Basic television demolition.4. Spelling - why continuously using Internet abbreviations and emoticons not only makes you appear retarded, but may in fact prove that you are retarded.5. What you want is not the same as what you need 101.

    I'm sure there's much more.

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  • <a href="http://sveneick.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Sven</a>
    Sven
    October 30th, 2008 @16:59 #
     
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    Lauren, that is an intriguing mixture of metaphors - a seedling with paws? I mean, most babies look somewhat extra-terrestrial to me, but this sounds like something worthy of Monsanto.

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  • <a href="http://littlehands.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Carole</a>
    Carole
    October 30th, 2008 @17:02 #
     
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    I completely agree with Margie - my children, like all of us - have only the wild and sometimes wonderful present to make sense of, and it is this which sends us 'prepared' to the future. I'm wary of the notion of proofing because it feeds one of the obsessions that often tends to dull the curriculum in early childhood education - providing school readiness programmes, pre-reading and pre-writing skills, we even put children into grade 0, implying they haven't started anything yet, apart from needing to get ready for school - somehow having faith in our children's capabilities to use and learn from a meaningful present is not enough.

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  • <a href="http://richarddenooy.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Richard de Nooy</a>
    Richard de Nooy
    October 30th, 2008 @17:30 #
     
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    As an experiment, I've decided to future-proof one of my children and to lock the other up in our basement for the next five years. It's Sophie's Choice all over again, but I think it's worth the effort.

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  • <a href="http://sveneick.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Sven</a>
    Sven
    October 30th, 2008 @17:41 #
     
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    Richard, I bet you cheated and put the girls in the basement.

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  • <a href="http://helenmoffett.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    Helen
    October 30th, 2008 @17:55 #
     
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    Sven, I love your 5-point plan above. Can think of some grown-ups who'd benefit too. For them, I'd add: 6) Accept that driving a monster 4X4 ("sports futility", in Giles Blunt's great phrase) in suburbia will not make your penis any bigger.

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  • <a href="http://margieorford.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Margie</a>
    Margie
    October 30th, 2008 @17:56 #
     
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    Future prep - I like that. Its called life, last time I looked. and mothering - which the small alien queen has from an excellent source. As Groucho Marx (probably -sound like him) Predicting the future is easy in retrospect....

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  • <a href="http://sveneick.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Sven</a>
    Sven
    October 30th, 2008 @18:20 #
     
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    Helen, I believe Tom Eaton wrote the most definitive guide to the psychology behind South Africa's obsession with big luxury cars when he still wrote for the M&G. I quote:

    "The new rich will never understand that all expensive cars are parodies of themselves, and all deny the class their owners have tried to buy. A 5-series BMW says, “I couldn’t afford a 7-series.” A Landcruiser says, “I fink dat my neighbour are got a lank big tollie, and I are got a lank small tollie.” A Range Rover says only “Golly!” but speaks volumes: of white knuckles, deferred orgasms, renewed prescriptions, forced regurgitations, disguised nosebleeds and voiceless sobs into the shoulders of expensive prostitutes.

    If only they knew how they looked, how the fantasy is exploded every time the true, representative driver of the SUV goes out on her errands: the tiny Stepford wife, ring-encrusted fingers spread desperately around the gigantic tiller, stringy tanning-bed-purple arms fighting the power-steering, her dulled eyes half-closed in that permanent expression of moronic disdain the rich reserve for when they are forced to mingle with the less rich."

    The complete article is here: http://www.mg.co.za/article/2007-06-01-you-strike-an-suv-you-strike-a-rock

    (A friend and I once considered launching a business that would provide targeted advertising space for luxury car manufacturers on condom dispensing machines that stocked condoms for the 'smaller' man.)

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  • <a href="http://sarahlotz.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Sarah Lotz</a>
    Sarah Lotz
    October 30th, 2008 @19:14 #
     
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    Mwahahahaha, Richard. I would like a a book that tells you how to get your teenager to a) switch off lights b) throw apple cores away in a place other than under the couch and c) stop nicking my clothes, drawing skulls on them and sticking them in the hot wash to hide the evidence so that they shrink to a size that wouldn't even fit Lauren's gorgeous little pawed wonder. But then, my novel is all about how to be a fucked-up teenager, so I only have myself to blame. My child is past the point of future-proofing, but would probably benefit from a guest appearance on 'How Clean is Your House?'

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  • <a href="http://fionasnyckers.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Fiona</a>
    Fiona
    October 30th, 2008 @20:20 #
     
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    Ah ... parenting ... that archetypal activity that all non-parents have foolproof theories on, and all parents believe they have unlocked the secret code for. Meanwhile our kids are busy compiling checklists for their future therapists on all the numerous ways in which we arsed it up.

    And by the way, those comments on SUVs cut me to the quick. I don't just THINK mine makes me look like I have a bigger penis, I KNOW it!

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  • <a href="http://richarddenooy.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Richard de Nooy</a>
    Richard de Nooy
    October 30th, 2008 @21:55 #
     
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    My eldest (19) is bullet-proof. At least, she was when I last shot at her as she approached the front door with three bags full of what I assumed was dirty laundry.

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  • <a href="http://helenmoffett.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    Helen
    October 30th, 2008 @23:05 #
     
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    Oh how I miss Tom Eaton's columns. Once, going through a black depression, I would log onto the M&G and read back through his columns. I'd always end up laughing like a hyena. Elinor Sisulu, who as a spokesperson for Zimbabwe Crisis Committee has a more stressful life than most, is always posting me Hayibo excerpts, claiming that Tom is keeping her sane.

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  • <a href="http://www.moxyland.com" rel="nofollow">Lauren Beukes</a>
    Lauren Beukes
    October 31st, 2008 @08:26 #
     
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    I'd much rather future-prep my child, so she's ready to seize opportunity and technology with both paws as its evolving in ways we can't begin to imagine now (like our parents trying to conceive of the Internet). Heck, she made her first appearance on youtube at 13 weeks of seedling.

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  • <a href="http://margieorford.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Margie</a>
    Margie
    October 31st, 2008 @09:01 #
     
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    TEchnology - be it internet or hand axe - is an extension of the human brain - and of a spirit that is prepared to walk free and unafraid into new situations - knowing that you bring to it a way of dealing with newness with wonder. The best thing that children take into the future is themselves - and that wondering child-likeness at things - a desire to know and experiment. I really am still trying to get my head around a child WHO DID NOT KNOW HOW TO CROSS A ROAD. I've been to Joburg. They have roads there - everywhere in fact. with people crossing them all the time.

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  • <a href="http://helenmoffett.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    Helen
    October 31st, 2008 @09:34 #
     
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    Not having children (other than furkids, and I've had to pray that instinct would teach them how to cross roads), I've been keeping relatively quiet, but isn't this also about cultures criss-crossing? I once lectured at the University of Alaska Fairbanks (long story involving a man), and they had a programme for rural students who came to university in "cities" like Fairbanks (the size of Beaufort West) never having encountered traffic lights or a supermarket before. They were given a course in how to use ATMs, etc. However, most of these kids could fly small planes, ski across trackless wilderness, shoot, gut and skin a moose, etc. They were self-confident and savvy. Isn't it about adapting to context? Or is this about the terror parents feel in a world that seems increasingly dangerous?

    I'm with Sven on this one -- the question is whether how much longer the planet will survive successive generations, not the other way round. Sigh.

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  • <a href="http://www.sapartridge.co.za" rel="nofollow">Sally</a>
    Sally
    October 31st, 2008 @10:29 #
     
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    I would rather not imagine a future without lots of chubby-cheeked lovelies. I also disagree with the idea of indoctrinating them into what they should believe and eat etc. Before we know it we will have a situation worse than we already have, a world filled with intolerance and even more personality disorders than we need.

    I'd rather have a free-thinking, sticky child that lulz and gives me grey hairs than trying to force the poor thing into a box.

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  • <a href="http://sveneick.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Sven</a>
    Sven
    October 31st, 2008 @10:32 #
     
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    Margie, Johannesburg actually has lock down houses where doors and windows get covered by metal shutters every night. I think it's totally believable that the BCom'd Afro-Tuscan set have children amongst them who have never had to cross a road, living lives where South Africa is simply the blurred scenery between mall, school and fortress.

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  • <a href="http://louisgreenberg.com" rel="nofollow">Louis Greenberg</a>
    Louis Greenberg
    October 31st, 2008 @10:43 #
     
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    I love you guys: such an effortless progressive reaction to this conservative fear-mongering. I must admit I am all too susceptible to fear and paranoia and it's delightful to hear optimists having their say.

    I will buy Future-Prep Your Children; it seems a more positive guide to have.

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  • <a href="http://sveneick.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Sven</a>
    Sven
    October 31st, 2008 @11:03 #
     
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    Louis, in this world of ponzi-scheme financial instruments and taxpayer bailouts of the super-wealthy, perhaps a guide to selling futures on your prep school children could also be helpful - pay for univeristy fees etc, etc.

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  • <a href="http://margieorford.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Margie</a>
    Margie
    October 31st, 2008 @11:23 #
     
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    I am going to Joburg in a week so I am going to so some serious anthropology. My children (now 18, 16 and 12) seem completely unimpressed with the future. Which they assume will just happen and be fabulous (roads or no roads). Instead they are leaping around in the present like labradors in water. which, is where children should live - in the present. It is such a wonderful phase - that mad optimism that the future will happen to you in exactly the way you want it to. and when you figure out that it hasnt it is all in the past anyway. I suppose future-proof comes from that notion of being cut off - shatter-prufe glass, burglar-proof house, conscience-proof wealth, laugh-proof sense of self-importance. This road thing is still getting me though. A road is not exactly futuristic. the Romans had roads. St Paul had his road to Damascus. Where he saw the light (or whatever it is the misogynist monks get to see) and now we have citizens who travel all the way to London (streets paved with gold, ala Dick Whittington) to find out how to cross the roads! What would Chicken Licken have to say on this? He certainly had road anxiety.

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  • <a href="http://sveneick.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Sven</a>
    Sven
    October 31st, 2008 @11:31 #
     
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    Was Chicken Licken the avian involved in the infamous road crossing incident? I was under the impression that he was the chap who the sky fell on.

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  • <a href="http://fionasnyckers.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Fiona</a>
    Fiona
    October 31st, 2008 @11:34 #
     
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    Lock-down, metal-shuttered houses? Here, in my home town? Gosh, whatever next.

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  • <a href="http://louisgreenberg.com" rel="nofollow">Louis Greenberg</a>
    Louis Greenberg
    October 31st, 2008 @11:39 #
     
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    Well, Margie, as one living in Joburg, I'd warn you against underestimating the hazard of our roads. I try not to cross them myself. The dogs and the kid are getting bored with the same old block, but thankfully it's a large one with grassy pavements.

    I don't know if it happens a lot in Cape Town, but an inordinate number of children and old people are killed for dawdling across the road. (Not to mention those who are killed as bystanders to shootouts.) Our neighbourhood lost one its patriarchs last year when he was killed by a speeding metro cop.

    My wife worked with a South American visiting researcher once who was not burdened by our innurtured fear of public transport. He took taxis to work. He was mugged three times in two weeks. Then he went back home. Unfortunately it's not all about a positive attitude.

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  • <a href="http://sveneick.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Sven</a>
    Sven
    October 31st, 2008 @11:43 #
     
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    Full-blown castles complete with murder-holes, porticullis('s? ses?) and crocodile filled moats I imagine.

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  • <a href="http://fionasnyckers.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Fiona</a>
    Fiona
    October 31st, 2008 @11:54 #
     
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    Portculli? Portcullae? Portcullisseses? Anyway, if you spot any Margie, be sure to post a pic here.

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