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  • Now, I want to start with a question:

  • When was the last time you were called childish?

  • For kids like me,

  • being called childish can be a frequent occurrence.

  • Every time we make irrational demands,

  • exhibit irresponsible behavior

  • or display any other signs

  • of being normal American citizens,

  • we are called childish.

  • Which really bothers me.

  • After all, take a look at these events:

  • Imperialism and colonization,

  • world wars, George W. Bush.

  • Ask yourself, who's responsible? Adults.

  • Now, what have kids done?

  • Well, Anne Frank touched millions

  • with her powerful account of the Holocaust,

  • Ruby Bridges helped to end segregation in the United States,

  • and, most recently,

  • Charlie Simpson helped to raise

  • 120,000 pounds for Haiti

  • on his little bike.

  • So, as you can see evidenced by such examples,

  • age has absolutely nothing to do with it.

  • The traits the word childish addresses

  • are seen so often in adults

  • that we should abolish this age-discriminatory word

  • when it comes to criticizing behavior

  • associated with irresponsibility and irrational thinking.

  • (Applause)

  • Thank you.

  • Then again, who's to say

  • that certain types of irrational thinking

  • aren't exactly what the world needs?

  • Maybe you've had grand plans before

  • but stopped yourself, thinking,

  • "That's impossible," or, "That costs too much,"

  • or, "That won't benefit me."

  • For better or worse, we kids aren't hampered as much

  • when it comes to thinking about reasons why not to do things.

  • Kids can be full of inspiring aspirations

  • and hopeful thinking.

  • Like my wish that no one went hungry

  • or that everything were a free kind of utopia.

  • How many of you still dream like that

  • and believe in the possibilities?

  • Sometimes a knowledge of history

  • and the past failures of utopian ideals

  • can be a burden

  • because you know that if everything were free,

  • then the food stocks would become depleted

  • and scarce and lead to chaos.

  • On the other hand,

  • we kids still dream about perfection.

  • And that's a good thing because in order

  • to make anything a reality,

  • you have to dream about it first.

  • In many ways, our audacity to imagine

  • helps push the boundaries of possibility.

  • For instance, the Museum of Glass in Tacoma, Washington,

  • my home state -- yoohoo Washington!

  • (Applause) --

  • has a program called Kids Design Glass,

  • and kids draw their own ideas for glass art.

  • Now, the resident artist said they got

  • some of their best ideas through the program

  • because kids don't think about the limitations

  • of how hard it can be to blow glass into certain shapes;

  • they just think of good ideas.

  • Now, when you think of glass, you might

  • think of colorful Chihuly designs

  • or maybe Italian vases,

  • but kids challenge glass artists to go beyond that

  • into the realm of broken-hearted snakes

  • and bacon boys, who you can see has meat vision.

  • (Laughter)

  • Now, our inherent wisdom

  • doesn't have to be insider's knowledge.

  • Kids already do a lot of learning from adults,

  • and we have a lot to share.

  • I think that adults should start learning from kids.

  • Now, I do most of my speaking in front of an education crowd,

  • teachers and students, and I like this analogy:

  • It shouldn't just be a teacher at the head of the classroom

  • telling students, "Do this, do that."

  • The students should teach their teachers.

  • Learning between grown ups and kids

  • should be reciprocal.

  • The reality, unfortunately, is a little different,

  • and it has a lot to do with trust, or a lack of it.

  • Now, if you don't trust someone, you place restrictions on them, right?

  • If I doubt my older sister's ability

  • to pay back the 10 percent interest

  • I established on her last loan,

  • I'm going to withhold her ability to get more money from me

  • until she pays it back. (Laughter)

  • True story, by the way.

  • Now, adults seem to have

  • a prevalently restrictive attitude towards kids

  • from every "don't do that,

  • don't do this" in the school handbook

  • to restrictions on school Internet use.

  • As history points out, regimes become oppressive

  • when they're fearful about keeping control.

  • And although adults may not be quite at the level

  • of totalitarian regimes,

  • kids have no, or very little say in making the rules,

  • when really the attitude should be reciprocal,

  • meaning that the adult population should learn

  • and take into account the wishes

  • of the younger population.

  • Now, what's even worse than restriction

  • is that adults often underestimate kids abilities.

  • We love challenges, but when expectations are low,

  • trust me, we will sink to them.

  • My own parents had anything but low expectations

  • for me and my sister.

  • Okay, so they didn't tell us to become doctors

  • or lawyers or anything like that,

  • but my dad did read to us

  • about Aristotle

  • and pioneer germ fighters

  • when lots of other kids were hearing

  • "The Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round."

  • Well, we heard that one too, but "Pioneer Germ Fighters" totally rules.

  • (Laughter)

  • I loved to write from the age of four,

  • and when I was six

  • my mom bought me my own laptop equipped with Microsoft Word.

  • Thank you Bill Gates and thank you Ma.

  • I wrote over 300 short stories

  • on that little laptop,

  • and I wanted to get published.

  • Instead of just scoffing at this heresy

  • that a kid wanted to get published

  • or saying wait until you're older,

  • my parents were really supportive.

  • Many publishers were not quite so encouraging,

  • one large children's publisher ironically saying

  • that they didn't work with children --

  • children's publisher not working with children?

  • I don't know, you're kind of alienating a large client there.

  • (Laughter)

  • Now, one publisher, Action Publishing,

  • was willing to take that leap and trust me

  • and to listen to what I had to say.

  • They published my first book, "Flying Fingers," -- you see it here --

  • and from there on, it's gone to speaking at hundreds of schools,

  • keynoting to thousands of educators

  • and finally, today, speaking to you.

  • I appreciate your attention today,

  • because to show that you truly care,

  • you listen.

  • But there's a problem with this rosy picture

  • of kids being so much better than adults.

  • Kids grow up and become adults just like you.

  • (Laughter)

  • Or just like you? Really?

  • The goal is not to turn kids into your kind of adult,

  • but rather better adults than you have been,

  • which may be a little challenging

  • considering your guys' credentials (Laughter).

  • But the way progress happens

  • is because new generations and new eras

  • grow and develop and become better than the previous ones.

  • It's the reason we're not in the Dark Ages anymore.

  • No matter your position or place in life,

  • it is imperative to create opportunities for children

  • so that we can grow up to blow you away.

  • (Laughter)

  • Adults and fellow TEDsters,

  • you need to listen and learn from kids

  • and trust us and expect more from us.

  • You must lend an ear today,

  • because we are the leaders of tomorrow,

  • which means we're going to be taking care of you

  • when you're old and senile. No, just kidding.

  • No, really, we are going to be the next generation,

  • the ones who will bring this world forward.

  • And in case you don't think that this really has meaning for you,

  • remember that cloning is possible,

  • and that involves going through childhood again,

  • in which case you'll want to be heard

  • just like my generation.

  • Now, the world needs opportunities

  • for new leaders and new ideas.

  • Kids need opportunities to lead and succeed.

  • Are you ready to make the match?

  • Because the world's problems

  • shouldn't be the human family's heirloom.

  • Thank you.

  • (Applause)

  • Thank you. Thank you.

Now, I want to start with a question:

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【TED】Adora Svitak: What adults can learn from kids (What adults can learn from kids | Adora Svitak)

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    VoiceTube posted on 2013/03/29
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