Oh how beautiful is Panama – how students find meaning

Creativity Development: Education for Sustainable Development – Sustainable Learning Concepts „Oh how beautiful is Panama“ – happiness and finding meaning – in conversation with Thomas Friese, real estate developer from Oldenburg and Berlin.

The German children’s book classic by Janosch tells of the journey of the little tiger and the little bear. On their way to Panama, they experience a series of exciting adventures and learn important lessons through play. The two friends are unaware that the heroes have only wandered in circles. Overjoyed, they reach their own home overgrown with plants. Believing they are in Panama, they live happily ever after.

It is only from the perspective that one recognizes the beauty of one’s own home. Is that why so many teenagers and young adults seek distance?

„O bear,“ said the tiger, „isn’t life incredibly beautiful, say!“„Yes,“ said the little bear, „quite eerie and beautiful.“ (Excerpt from: Janosch. „Mail for the Tiger.“)

Thomas Friese knows the typical statements of young people: „After graduating from high school, I first found myself standing on a wide open corridor. At school, you’re constantly told what to do. If you don’t want stress, go along with it. Then suddenly endless possibilities. Infinite possibilities to be successful. And infinite possibilities to fail. The future was one thing above all: scary. Today I know scary but also scary beautiful. I learn every day what interests me most. Doing what I love and getting paid for it on top. But how do you make the leap from high school to college, apprenticeship or day job?“ Among the top ten most sought-after apprenticeships, office management assistant (m/f) ranks first across all genders. Occupations in sectors with technological advances show particular future potential, especially in the online sector and STEM occupations (mathematics, information technology, natural sciences and technology). „Bright prospects exist in the real estate industry from the classic apprenticeship as a real estate agent, broker to property manager. Apartments, houses and neighborhoods are not only sought-after tangible assets, but digitalization and globalization mean that the real estate sector is growing with completely new fields of activity. But the question of young adults‘ motivation is also occupying the real estate industry. Young adults are looking for answers to the question of meaning, and just because a boom is developing, it doesn’t mean that this will trigger motivation,“ Thomas Friese points out.

Development tasks – make happy?

The little tiger and bear had to complete on their series of developments until they could finally live happily ever after in Panama. „The view over the edge of the plate, thus from the outside helps to recognize and learn, what is necessary for the own development and motivation. Are further additional qualifications and soft skills necessary in addition to the basic business, technical and legal knowledge of the real estate industry, for example? Which occupational field provides meaning, can be built up in modules, is future-oriented and brings the possibility of sustainability with long-term change as a contribution to happiness,“ Thomas Friese points out.

The U.S. educationalist and sociologist Robert Havinghurts established the theory of developmental tasks in 1948. Robert Havinghurst defines a developmental task as prototypical and normative, concrete requirements or learning tasks to be mastered (decided) in the course of certain phases of life. Developmental tasks accumulate in young adulthood. Choosing a course of study, moving out of the parental home, completing education, getting one’s first job, or starting a partnership. Pressure arises when people compare themselves with their peers or with normative, socially accepted „schedules“. This is not goal-oriented. A developmental task requires development in the form of psychological development and each individual must be ready for this. Making a decision is a successful accomplishment. Once a developmental task is completed this leads to happiness and success according to Havinghurst. 

„Admittedly, the theory of developmental tasks in a colorful world is relatively rigid. However, everyone knows how good it feels to pass the final exam or to finally live in your first own home,“ says Thomas Friese.

Roots in a growing world

Many young people first want to go abroad after graduation. Thomas Friese comments: „But even those who stay here typically don’t do it like their own parents. Whether the distance is physical or psychological, every young person must be allowed to embark on his or her own „journey to Panama,“ Thomas Friese knows from his own experience as a former teenager and father. In this stage of life, parents ideally let their own children go off and stay rooted. Finding one’s own way is not easy, wrong decisions help for a change of direction. „Today, lifelong learning is the order of the day, many things can be tried out and a later career change is seen as an opportunity. Especially in the real estate industry, the job market is exciting, attractive and changing. People with good social skills are particularly needed in the industry. The need for junior staff is growing, especially in many metropolitan areas where the number of households is on the rise. New housing developments are revolutionizing the industry, while at the same time the academization of the industry is advancing. Reasons can be found in the enforcement of the equal investment form, which requires perfect management. The important thing is that support is needed at a young age to try out different options and learn without fear,“ says Thomas Friese.

In 2008, psychologists Kruse and Walper found that the parent-child relationship is the strongest single predictor of successful adolescent development. The individuated relationship with the mother is significantly associated with higher scores in self-esteem and work orientation and lower scores in depressiveness, somatization, dependence on others, and experience of helplessness. Individuated relationships between parent and child are composed of high autonomy and high relatedness. „How good,“ said the little tiger, „if you have a friend, then you don’t have to be afraid of anything.“ (Excerpt from: Janosch film & medien AG. „Oh, how beautiful is Panama.“)

Conclusion: Natural beauty – Sensitive – Roots and developmental tasks – Lifelong learning with sustainability and meaningful.

Nature is a unique beauty and at the same time very vulnerable, this sensitization occurred in recent decades, the global climate crisis illustrates this. The story Tiger and Bear makes it clear that children, young people and adults need to learn for the decisions to be made, that effects of their own actions affect future generations and life in other regions of the world. Numerous projects and lifelong learning give hope to learn from a young age what the sustainable effects of one’s own actions entail. Thanks to Thomas Friese for sharing his real estate experience, a home provides protection, security and stability. With knowledge we gain the knowledge for a way to make the world a better place. Every generation seeks happiness and is on an eternal quest for meaning.


Elisabeth Schulte
Stud. psych. & blogger

About the author:

Elisabeth Schulte studies psychology in Berlin and works on clinical studies. The project Health from A-Z embarks on a virtual global journey, with the goal of discovering long-term sustainable therapies for holistic health. Special interest lies in the transformation of healthcare through technology, digitalization and artificial intelligence to holistic health from A-Z

About Thomas Friese:

The real estate expert and project developer Thomas Friese, Berlin/Oldenburg (Lower Saxony) is active a training in the fiscal range since in the middle of the seventies in the range real estate development and marketing.


Projektentwickler & Immobilienexperte
Thomas Friese

Unter den Eichen 108a
12203 Berlin

Website: https://web.facebook.com/thomas.friese.100
E-Mail : frieseberlin@aol.com
Telefon: +49 172 3801981