Sunday, March 3, 2013

Fostering Kid Makers

Today, I will be talking about this article in Make: Magazine, edition 33. It is called “Why Make?” and I really like it. The author, AnnMarie Thomas, talks about how she brought one of her friends to their first Maker Faire, and how their one question was, “Why?”

She says that Makers are really special because we enjoy simply messing around with a project as much as little kids do, and do not need any incentives, deadlines, and instructions.  As we get older, we start to question things. We want to know why we are doing this, if we are doing it right, and people will even not do a project because they believe they are not good at it. Our society has built us to not accept failure, to do things not because they are fun, or cool, but for some purpose that might not be relevant to you in any other way. We need to start thinking more like little kids. When I was three, if I saw a pile of Legos, or paper and crayons, or anything like that, I would be over there as fast as lightning messing around with it. It didn't matter to me how long I would be able to do it, or if I could draw, or anything. I just wanted to experiment and see what happened. A famous quote from my role models the MythBusterstm, “Failure is always an option.” It doesn't matter if your “spaceship” never actually flies or your paper airplane crashes, it was fun to make, and you discovered a way not to make these things. Thomas Edison once said, “I have not failed. I have simply found a thousand ways how not to make a light bulb.”

We need to foster this kind of thinking in our kids as they grow up, and act the same way around them. Show them your projects. Take them to Maker Faire. Teach them how to solder, to knit, to whatever. Kids are like giant sponges. The more stuff you expose them to, the more they will learn from it. Teach them to treat every failure as a success, and to never give up on their dreams. Tell them that nobody controls their life except them, and they can do whatever they want.

I will leave you with one last quote. Unfortunately I do not know who this is from:

“Don’t tell me the sky is the limit when there are footprints on the moon.”