Today I walked into my mom’s house to an excited Braeden sharing his animatronic dinosaur costume design…inspired by YouTube videos from a group of puppet makers from China, Jurassic Park and the realistic Dinosaur themed show that he saw at the Dallas Zoo about a year ago.
He wanted to know if I knew people that could help him. He wanted students with experience in soldering, auto-mechanics and engineering.
He even promised that if they helped, he would let them be in his video…because that’s what you do when you learn from YouTube…you thrive on sharing the wealth too.
I wish that I could’ve captured his enthusiasm as he sat down to show me the video that he learned with…how he paused with excitement as they were mixing “dinosaur skin” with silicone and gasoline…excitedly sharing that he needed to think of a replacement for gas because he “definitely couldn’t use that in his project”…his words.
…how he stopped the video during soldering to tell me that he didn’t understand that part only to learn that not only did I know but I own a soldering gun. (I may or may not have soldered a wire or two in my past factory worker life)
…how he recognized that he could do most of the “electric” with Little Bits (especially the fan) and pure joy upon learning that his vision of installing a camera up the dinosaur’s nose to display on a screen while he wears the suit can definitely happen with his raspberry Pi.
And in that moment, it occurred to me that we only ever talk about what’s up his creative sleeves…what inspires him.
…never discussions of test scores, grades or anything remotely close to false measurements of who he will potentially be.
Those numbers can never truly capture what I experienced tonight.
What I care most about is that he can learn anytime and everywhere he wants.
…That he solves problems of his choosing and of his imagination.
Most importantly, I care that being “his person” is just as much my purpose as creating is his.
This isn’t about a kid having some insane amount of talent that another kid hasn’t yet discovered of his or her own. This is about a kid that KNOWS that when he believes in something and is inspired, he can make and do anything.
The world is his classroom and having this passion to authentically create is only powerful if he has the tools and access to do it.
The difference here isn’t “just” talent. It really is the intersection of purpose, passion and access. In his case, it’s having a “person” who listens, supports and helps bring those visions to reality.
I’ll say this over and over again. To “make” Is to be human. It can happen anywhere that inspiration hits.
If you must have a space for it, please do start with asking your community of learners what they want to make and honor that.
Lesson learned Braeden