So ideaCity 2010 has come to a close. At a first timer at this conference I have to say it far exceeded my expectations.
The final pod of the night ended with something sure to make the rest of us feel inadequate….child prodigies. We heard from the world’s youngest educator, 12 year old Adora Svitak, 14 year old blog sensation Tavi Gevinson and YouTube sensation Natalie Tyler Tran.
Adora Svitak discussed what it actually means to let a kid be kid. The kid herself mused that while some people would say that letting kids be kids means letting them run wild, Adora feels that responsibility is not a bad thing and stopping a kid from achieving their dreams by telling them to “wait until they grow up” only squashes their dreams.
This insightful educator talked about how her own life would have been different if she had been told “wait until you are older to publish that book” “when you are older you can give seminars and educate”. Instead, her needs and wants were cultivated and flourished.
While I think that children need responsibility I couldn’t help but sit back and think that the 12 year old didn’t fully appreciate the uniqueness of her own life, the financial situations some kids are under, or the fact that at 12, the responsibility of making your bed, your lunch, and doing your laundry was enough. I admire Adora for everything she has done, she is a remarkable child, but not all children are like her and not all children want her life.
Am I saying we shouldn’t allow children to express themselves, experiment with their dreams, and be constantly encouraged? Absolutely not. I’m just saying we do it with a bit of realism. Today’s children don’t need to be sheltered they need to understand what goes on in this world, that war exists, that racism, sexism, homophobia, disease and lots other bad things exist, but it needs to be a slow drip. We can’t turn on the tap of “reality” and fill their glasses to the brim, we have to provide a steady stream and let them gradually drink.
Natalie Tyler Tran is a hilarious, down to earth individual who notices the funny things in society I think we all notice, the difference is, she’ll put her face on the internet and say “what the hell was that??” While she didn’t find herself remarkable and I did. We often overlook the great power humor has. It can heal us, give us a new perspective, relieve our stress, or just allow us some fun. While Natalie didn’t think her humor merited her being with people like Adora Svitak, I would say she possesses the greatest knowledge of all, the ability to make people laugh.
If you haven’t watched any of Natalie Tyler Tran’s YouTube videos, do it now. And then do it again when you are having a bad day, cause it’s a pick me up almost as good as coffee.