What Adults Can Learn From Kids – Adora Svitak TED Talk

Adora is an articulate blogger, published author, national speaker, activist and educator – and she is only 12 years old. She is an inspiration and a testament to the amazing potential of children, especially when they are supported and encouraged by adults.

Below is a speech she gave at the 2010 TED conference. In only 8 minutes she does an amazing job and gives you a lot to consider. Please take a look!

Adora has her own website and blog and spends a lot of her time helping and encouraging kids to read and write. She has published several books including: Flying Fingers: Master the Tools of Learning Through the Joy of Writing and Dancing Fingers.

In her TED talk Adora had some interesting ideas. Here are a few of my favorite:

Kids can do amazing things, and often do – Adora’s examples of the amazing things kids are capable of such as Ann Frank, Ruby Bridges, and recent examples like Charlie Simpson remind us that kids have limitless potential and are doing extraordinary things every single day.

Kids are not concerned with all the reasons they “shouldn’t”  do something, they simply do itHow many times have you talked yourself out of doing something you really wanted to do?  How many times have you let someone else’s opinion or “common sense” convince you your desires are silly or childish?

In order to make anything a reality, you have to dream it firstDreaming is important. One of the most damaging things to our kids creativity you could say is “stop dreaming.”  Dreaming is the first step in all great endeavors.

Kids don’t think about limitations – they simply think of good ideasKids are naturals at the first step of brainstorming – idea generation. This is a great skill that adults sometimes have trouble with as we have developed filters that we automatically apply to our ideas.

Learning between adults and kids should be reciprocalThere are so many things that we can learn from kids, some we have forgotten as we become adults while others are completely new. Advances in computers and electronics are a great example, as kids can often teach and help adults with newer technology. I have previously written about a post about this in Creativity Lessons from Kids.

Kids love challenges, but they will sink to low expectationsAs an educator I think this is one of the most important points Adora made. Why do we not have higher expectations for our children and ourselves? It is easy to come up with excuseswe don’t have enough time, we don’t have enough fundingbut we owe our children and ourselves more.

Progress happens as new generations and new eras develop and become better than the previous onesKids are the next generation, the leaders of tomorrow. Our jobs as parents and educators is not to impress our knowledge on our children but to teach them how to learn, to give them the gifts of creativity and curiosity in the hopes that they will become better and dream bigger then we even thought to.

I wanted to leave you with Adora’s call to action: “Now, the world needs opportunities for new leaders and new ideas. Kids need opportunities to lead and succeed. Are you ready to make the match?”

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