Living in a world of empowered children

"Children do not need to be made to learn to be better, told what to do or shown how. If they are given access to enough of the world, they will see clearly enough what things are truly important to themselves and to others, and they will make for themselves a better path into that world then anyone else could make for them" ~John Holt, (1923-1985) American Educator, How Children Fail
As I was thinking about how to write a post that will best describe the vision behind TEDxKids@BC, I decided to check the definition of the word "empower". The following made a true impression on me: Make (someone) stronger and more confident, esp. in controlling their life and claiming their rights. As parents, community and society, that is exactly what we want for our kids, right? Who doesn't want the future generation to be strong and confident, in control of their life and able to assert their rights? I doubt anyone would answer no to that question! And yet, if we look around, we see lots of examples of kids being told exactly what to do instead of being asked what they think; of rules being designed to control them instead of letting them discover the world for themselves; of insecure adolescents struggling to find their passions instead of confident young people using their creative minds to solve complex problems! Is it possible that we (and by "we" I mean collectively all of us adults!) somehow turn our courageous and curious little explorers into confused young adults to whom the world looks like a scary place? The vision of TEDxKids@BC is to visualize a world in which the kids have been invited to explore their passions. A world in which they've been granted the right to influence decisions impacting their lives. A world in which they stand up with adults as equals and use their creativity and skills to make a brighter future for us all! In keeping with our vision, is the true mission behind TEDxKids@BC. We believe in this kid-empowered world and we are committed to making TEDxKids@BC an example of this. We know that no matter how much light we shine on our speakers, and their stories of this brave world, we want to do more than just talk. This is why we are asking kids to be our partners. To be an important part of the making of TEDxKids@BC! We want to invite kids to join our team and to empower them to create this event together with us! We are all here to have fun and learn together -- how great it would be to use the organization of the event as an opportunity to do exactly that! From stage design to filming, from running the show to deciding who speaks, from designing posters to interviewing speakers -- we're trying to empower kids interested in joining the team to do some of the challenging tasks, with adults supporting them as mentors. The true value of TEDxKids@BC is in the ability to inspire people and connect communities with the idea of a world in which kids are given access to enough of it. We want to run with that value while creating the event itself!
"Children are likely to live up to what you believe of them." ~ Lady Bird Johnson,  (1912 - 2007) former U.S. First Lady


2 comments

Grace Hess » 10 Aug 2011 » Reply

Dear Kima,
Thank you for the wonderful workshop you gave at AERO! I just have to keep thinking of the wise words and envouragement you gave us all to do a similar event in our home towns. I am seriously thinking about it. I will email youwith follow-up questions!! Thank you!

Diane Corkery » 14 Oct 2013 » Reply

I’m looking for a stock image I can use with copyright. Could you please tell me where you purchased this photo of the children playing underneath the globe of the world? I work in Australia for a not for profit company that provides early intervention for women and children caughtin the cycle of domestic violence. I would like to be able to purchase this image to use as a splash back in our reception area. Thanks in anticipation, Di

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