Monday, June 25, 2012
Running with Scissors Today, Leading Winners Tomorrow
Enabling the youth of America for leadership is a key theme at my children's school (and the subject of the principal's parting remarks at my daughter's promotion). I have been a huge proponent of the hands-on approach to leadership training, in both 10 year olds and in staff aiming to take up the reins at various technology efforts I've been involved with. I watch with great interest this TED Talk on the subject of letting kids do dangerous things... The speaker, Gever Tulley, is a co-founder of the Tinkering School. At this week-long camp, kids get to play with power tools to learn how to build, solve problems, use new materials and hack old ones for new purposes. Recently, Suzanne Lucas compares the approach here in the states to Switzerland (not Sweden, where she is residing: "Would you let your 3-yr play with a real saw? You would if you were a parent in Switzerland... Every Friday, whether rain, shine, snow, or heat, my 3-yr old goes into the forest for four hours with 10 other school children. In addition to playing with saws and files, they roast their own hot dogs over an open fire. If a child drops a hot dog, the teacher picks it up, brushes the dirt off, and hands it back.' Ms Lucas is provocative in her assertion that such kids grow up and lead the ones who were coddled... but her point is well-taken.