My youngest daughter (three years old) came home this week and announced that she had been crying at kindergarten. She was a little hazy on the details but claimed it was because she had missed Mummy and Daddy.

Suspicious, my wife asked her kindergarten teacher the next day and discovered the sordid truth. You see, she likes writing and sticking but is not too keen on drawing or coloring. Having seen that the kids sitting next to her are faster and better artists than her, she managed to convince one boy to draw a sunflower for her. Her teacher asked her what she was doing and she promptly burst into tears (always an effective strategy if you are as cute as she is).

Apparently she has a long-term agreement with this boy and has been caught outsourcing work to him on a number of occasions. Her teacher was absolutely right to encourage her to work on her own. It is important that she develop her fine motor skills and is able to draw and create effectively.

But it is interesting that she is developing the ability to identify someone who is more suited to a particular task and convince them to work for her. She is developing management skills, if not flower-drawing ability.

Virtually the only environment in which we are ever expected to work completely on our own is when we are at school and university. Apart from academia, there are not many situations in real life where we are not able to ask for help, cooperate with others and work to our strengths. Modern teaching methodology recognizes this and promotes more group projects, collaborative learning, and testing methods such as open book examinations.

As the new technologies make us more connected to colleagues, friends, and expert information; the ability to work with others, empathize, persuade, and pool skills and knowledge will define success. Maybe my daughter is on to something.

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