This is cross-posted from The Disruption Department Blog, an organization in St. Louis that is creating a platform for community learning.
Today I want to share a story of a very very wise woman from here in St. Louis.
A. is an 8th grader, but wise beyond her 13 years. She told me she’s had to become an adult before she was naturally meant to.
I’ve never taught her before this summer, but wish I could teach her for the next 5 years, then work with her when she become an adult. She’s that special.
Rarely does intelligence, social skills, creativity and talent form in the same person. She’s a rare kid. Seriously. Wow.
While students were working on their digital film projects, I asked her about what it would take for her to thrive, despite the struggles her and kids around her go through each day just to survive.
She listed four things that would help her be more creative and more helpful to those around her:
1.) A public studio where she could go work on projects. The place would be stocked with all the necessary resources/equipment, as well as ample space for her to work. It would be open whenever, and she could use it whenever she wanted.
2.) Essential: A private space. She needs a “room of her own” so to speak, where she can relax, chill-out, think, and be a kid.
3.) Her own computer with continuous internet. To be creative, she says she needs access whenever she wants, not just when it’s available or by appointment.
4.) A more stable and comfortable living space.
She notes these would all be extremely valuable to becoming the person she wants to be.
But you know what she said was more valuable? Ears.
Listen to her! A. said, “I’m tired of people in general looking down on the future. It gets on my nerves when they look down on us and say we can’t do anything”.
Although she’s such a special kid, one who I’m honored to be working with this summer, there are lot’s of kids who feel like her.
They have skills, talents and [sometimes latent] creativity. They do well in school, i.e. they “achieve”, but they’re not fulfilled. They’re frustrated by not being able to pursue their passions, and we compound the issue by treating them like they’re just kids.
Let’s. Listen. To. Them.
Creating buildings where achievement is kind isn’t enough.
They. need. more.
So how do we help them create these conditions?