Empowering others to invent

Published by Lori Pickert on October 4, 2010 at 07:49 PM

We teach kids to do all sorts of things, but we don’t teach them to think about things in the inventive way — and why don’t we? It’s something you should be alert for from earliest childhood. You should be conscious that when you do devise something, when you fill a gap, you have invented. I’d love to see kids thinking in that way, and growing up to be adults that think in that way… that solve their own problems, and acquire stuff for themselves that they want, whether or not it can be bought off the shelf.Saving the Inventive Way of Life


Comment by jimmie on October 5, 2010 at 09:28 AM

Wonderful quote! I think one way to foster this in our children is through modeling our thought processes outloud. When they HEAR what's going on in our minds they where see the seeming mental LEAP came from. Often it was a logical progression. Other times it's a brainstorming session and then, voila, the answer!

We live in another culture and constantly seem to be "making do." That offers lots of opportunity for inventive thinking. When kids have too much (toys, entertainment, easy boxed kits) they don't HAVE to think. So I am sort of thankful for our "lack." It generates more creativity (not to mention gratefulness).

Comment by Cristina on October 5, 2010 at 03:54 PM

Love the quote! I admit I'm a kit addict. I have observed that my kids enjoy them for maybe a day, and then go off and do their own thing. Or they use the kit in a way it was never intended!

Peace and Laughter!

Comment by Alex on October 5, 2010 at 06:07 PM

Timely. We've been trying to decide (ahead of time) whether to jump through the hoops of the local online charter school to get $1000-1600 of approved purchases a year. We're kind of nerdy, not-so-radical unschoolers, not really doing classes yet or buying curriculum, with a fully stocked craft cabinet, and no desire to use the funds to buy non-consumables like globes, microscopes, etc. that would have ot be returned to the school later. I don't really care to store books that the library could store for me, either. So we're looking at a grand spent on kits and maybe pet supplies. It sounds dreamy, but then...I was thinking along these lines. Would it discourage my child from coming up with her own experiments and craftiness? Would it discourage the use-what-you-have DIY ethic that I value? I kind of think so. I haven't ruled it out--I know you *can* buy a lot more raw material kind of stuff instead--but I'm not sure it is worth it.

Comment by Maryam on October 7, 2010 at 10:30 PM

what a wonderful passage! truly! it makes me see that when we make/do/create/invent something, we can notice that we've done it... because we are already inventors each day. it's worth admiring in the moment!

Comment by Lori Pickert on October 9, 2010 at 01:13 AM

jimmie, absolutely .. we need to share our thinking and learning and problem-solving more often with our kids, making the process transparent, and including them if possible! too often, we retreat into ourselves when we have a problem, wanting to solve it on our own, just wishing it was already fixed. it's so helpful to walk through things in front of the kids — well, we have this problem .. mm .. how can we solve it .. do a little brainstorming .. try something .. try something else ..

cristina, i'm sure your attitude allows them to see the kits as a jumping off point, allowing them to then do whatever they want with it. it's that attitude of "what can you do?" that seems to be lacking in a lot of children's activities. it's so often "here's what you do" instead.

just the idea mentioned in the quote .. getting kids to think about solving their own problems .. is very interesting to me. i know a lot of kids who, if something breaks, want a new one. they aren't thinking in the mode of "how can i fix this?" the same kids will spend forever trying to solve a problem in a video game .. because they know there *is* a solution. maybe if we got kids to realize there are solutions in real life, too, they would start looking for them. :)

alex, that's a really interesting conundrum .. i'm interested in what you decide!

maryam, thank you. :) and you are so right — the noticing is important! if kids are to think of themselves as inventors, creators, problem-solvers .. it's good to stop and reflect on what they've accomplished.

Comment by Naomi on November 2, 2010 at 04:56 PM

My husband and I have always placed high priority in inspiring creativity in our children. Our oldest just turned four and for his birthday we gave him a tool box with misc. tools and objects he can either take apart to see how they work or put them together to make whatever he wants. He carries that box around the house all day long! So much fun to see him inspired all on his own.

Comment by Deb @ Green V-Neck on December 28, 2010 at 01:10 AM

Hey, just checking to make sure everything is okay, I've missed your blog posts. I don't usually comment, but everything I have read on your site has answered a question in my heart that I didn't even know I had. Peaceful and happy wishes for you and yours.

Comment by Lori Pickert on January 4, 2011 at 04:24 PM

naomi, wonderful. :) sorry i didn't respond for such a long time. my grandmother passed away and i took a long blog break. hope you and your family had a wonderful holiday. xo

hi deb, thanks so much for checking up on me! my grandmother passed away and i took a long blog break. it is good to come back and see such lovely messages from friends.

your comment means so much to me and it really lifted my spirits today -- thank you!!

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