Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Capable Kids

"Nine-year-old Hilde Kate Lysiak is the sole journalist of Orange Street News, 
the only publication devoted exclusively to covering the events of Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania (population 5,000). 
Hilde’s favorite beat to report on is crime, and she’s written extensively about vandalism, drug use, and harassment in Selinsgrove. 
Regular Orange Street News readers know that Hilde often covers serious subject matter that might seem incongruous with her age, 
but when the nine-year-old was the first reporter on the scene of a murder in Selinsgrove last weekend, 
some local residents were scandalized."
Read more Here.

Some kids like to play with dolls and have tea parties, some kids like to play soccer, some kids like to paint pictures, some kids like to play computer games, some kids like to climb trees, some kids like to report the news. Most kids like to do a bunch of different things. They may or may not end up sticking with some things, they may find something they love doing so much that it remains a passion for the rest of their life.
Our job, as parents, as adults, is not to tell kids what they should want to do, what they want to explore, or how they should be doing what they want to do; our role is that of a facilitator, cheerleader, and mentor. We can expose our children to a wide variety of experiences and opportunities, but we must follow their lead when it comes to what and how they want to take advantage of or explore those opportunities. Our job as a community, society, or world, is to support kids in doing what they are capable of doing, while accepting that different children are ready to do things at different times, while understanding that children's interests and abilities are unique and individual. When I was a kid my dad ran a summer camp with a huge swimming pool. Because I was there all summer, and I loved to swim, I was able to take advantage of the swimming lessons offered to campers. I quickly worked my way up through the levels, until I was told that I could go to the next level because I had to be twelve. It was disappointing, and frustrating. I couldn't take lessons and keep moving up. That was it for me. I didn't go back and pick up where I left off when I was old enough, I didn't keep swimming as anything other than something I did with friends and family. I didn't become a swim instructor when I was older, or a life guard. Now I don't even own a swimming suit that fits and the only stroke I can do with any sort of proficiency is the side stroke, though it's been years since I tried, so who knows. How might things have been different if I hadn't been told I was too young? Who would I be today if I had been encouraged to keep swimming? There's no way to know, but I do know that I stopped doing something I enjoyed because I didn't have support from the adults in my life. I hope that you will join me in striving to support kids in following their interests, rather than discouraging them from finding out how much they can accomplish and how capable they are.

"Who am I being that my children's eyes are not shining?"
- Benjamin Zander, from his TED Talk that you can watch HERE.

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