It’s the secret sauce of all learning and motivation.
When we give kids space & time and let them explore what they are interested in, magic will happen. Once they are passionate in doing something, they will dive into it and keep working on it – it’s in our nature. I think all of you would have experienced this – can’t break away your kids from their favourite toy or game?
Our goal, therefore, is to let our kids find their own passion.
I have a habit, I like to poke into the childhood of different people to look for inspiration and learning points. As expected, there are many interesting stories.
Bill Gates and Elon Musk
Both Bill Gates and Elon Musk are nerds. Apart from reading, they spent countless hours during their childhood on computer and programming. Musk sold his first video game source code to a publisher when he was 12 and Gates was 13 when he wrote his first software programme. Their parents supported them by letting them dive into their interests and Musk even had a helper at home just to make sure he didn’t break the house or doing something harmful to himself while doing all sorts of experiments.
Jane Goodall and Charles Darwin
Goodall, known for her study of chimpanzees, and Darwin, the father of evolution also have extremely supportive families. Goodall attributed her success to her mother’s parenting method, as her mother totally allowed Goodall to follow her passion and even encouraged her to explore her interest by getting her the relevant books. Darwin was never interested in school but he developed a keen interest in exploratory walks, collecting insects & minerals and bird-watching. After failing in medical school, he convinced his dad to let him join an exploration voyage to South America and the rest is history.
Leonardo da Vinci and Adilyn Malcolm
Speaking about self-learning, Leonardo da Vinci would be the best spokesperson. Never attended a day of formal schooling in his life, da Vinci became a pioneer in so many fields ahead of not just the people of his time but centuries before he was caught up. Who is Adilyn Malcolm? I would say she represents the self-learners of modern-day. Just search her name in YouTube and you’ll find her videos. Malcolm was 12 when her first viral video was produced 3 years ago. In just a few months but with immense interest and perseverance, Malcolm self-taught how to dubstep dance by just watching videos on YouTube and became a sensation. Malcolm said she watched the videos over and over, probably in the millions – does it ring a bell? That your kids ask you to read the same book over and over? Actually we all learn this way.
I also have a perfect example to illustrate this point. It happened very recently. In a project we collaborated with a media outlet, Hillary had to speak in Mandarin for around one minute. Do you know how long we took to make such video? OVER 3 HOURS!!!!! Obviously her Mandarin is not great but 3 hours is a little over the top. One day later, upon request by the organizer, we took another 17-second video. Do you know how long it take us? 17 seconds. This video was done in one take.
What made the huge difference between her performances? It couldn’t be that her Mandarin suddenly improved drastically. The key is her mood. On the first night, she was not in a good mood and everyone got frustrated and emotional after repeated takes and had a downward spiral effect. While for the second video, she was way more relaxed that day and in a happy state. Also she was eager to complete the video. It’s that simple.
Adilyn Malcolm said, “You can do anything if you really have a passion for it.” It pretty much sums up my whole blog. Our kids’ talent will surprise us – when they want to, they will find a way. As parents, we just need to be patient.