Learning From Our Children

I watched a TED Talk by Adora Svitalc, “What Adults Can Learn From Kids”, today and almost jumped out of my chair. She encouraged me for today’s topic just as I was thinking of how I haven’t been diligent about posting on Tuesdays and Wednesdays when we talk about going to new creative levels with family, parenting, relationships, and life: the subjects in which I am still learning the most daily!

As parents we often forget how a child’s innocence can help us to grow as people and learn new things. Do you remember being a child and seeing the world with clear glasses? There were no rose-colored or dark-colored glasses, just clear lenses through which you saw the world and its creation. My little one liked to chase sunsets when she was younger. We’d drive all around town trying to see if we could outdrive the sunset because it fascinated her how quickly the sunset turned to dusk. I enjoyed her excitement and some of the things she would come up with the see it just a little longer. “Mama, can we stop at the playground and see if we can see the end from the top of the slide?!” To her it was completely logical that going higher would help us see the end.

Take a few minutes to listen to Adora’s talk.

As a teen I remember watching “The Gods Must Be Crazy”, where an aborigine tribe finds a Coke bottle that a pilot drops from his plane to the earth below. Thinking the gods sent it, the tribe tries to return it. To their surprise each time they throw it up into the sky to return it to the gods, it comes flying back down. So they decide they must send someone to the end of the earth to return it. As he journeys toward the end of the earth, we see him find water in a plant and do things that the subtitles tell us we would take centuries to develop the tools to do. Amazing right? They can do complicated things but the simplest concepts like gravity and the earth being round escape them! Isn’t this like children? They have solutions to some of the most complicated problems because they aren’t concerned with how it’s done. They just do it.

This young girl is 12 at the time of this talk. 12! As in less than 1/3 of my age. And she is talking on TED Talk stages, engaging crowds, and sharing some really good thoughts! She has published books and achieved more than many of us will in a lifetime. But it’s our own faults isn’t it? But that’s another post – let me stay somewhat on track here.

I think of her parents and how they taught her that there weren’t limits to what you can do except for those you impose on yourself. As she looked for a publisher to pick up her book (something that happens to only 4% of books across the industry), she learned that when you are told “No” you find a new way! I love this!

“…adults often underestimate kids’ abilities. We love challenges but when expectations are low, trust me, we will sink to them.”

We need to be more like her parents and less like ourselves if we have gotten into a place of forgetting how valuable kids’ input can be. We need to listen to our children and encourage them to be creative and look for new ways to find solutions to things. We can’t be afraid for them to be hurt. Instead we should be there when do and help them have the courage to try again!

This talk really encouraged me because I love that my daughter is trying new things but it reminded me to also take more time to learn from her. To listen to what she is saying and hear her words as she speaks about her dreams, solutions to problems, and how she is going to change the world.

How are you encouraging your kids to be creative? Are you listening to their ideas and challenging them to think big?




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