At what point do we stop believing in the possibilities?
Kidnom is a fantastical place to live. It's a world where we are capable of anything, clever at everything and believe that magic can actually happen.
Disney was onto something when he designed a world that allowed our imaginations to soar and our dreams to have no limits.
During my author talks I not only talk about being an author, but I also talk about how we can make our dreams come true. That is after all what Cheer Chick Charlie is all about. A little girl who has a dream and the experiences she has as she makes her dreams come true.
As I chat to the children I ask them lots of questions.
I ask them to share their dreams. What do they want to do and who do they want to be when they grow up?
I ask them to tell me what their strengths are and to share the things they are clever at. Who's good at art? Who's great at sport? Who's clever at writing?
I ask them if they believe in themselves. All of the time? Some of the time? None of the time?
It's interesting to watch their responses and to to see at what age we stop believing in the possibilities.
Yesterday's author talk confirmed what all my previous author talks have suggested. Up to the age of 8 or 9 children still tend to believe in themselves and their own abilities. They believe they have something special to offer to offer the world. By around the ages of 10 and 11 this starts to dip and by 12 they are starting to really question their own power.
Yesterday when I asked what their dreams were, there were kids with very definite dreams. There was the usual sporting hopes of being a football or soccer star, there was the current trend of wanting to compete in the Olympics, there were actors, singers, authors and even a paleontologist.
When I asked what their strengths were, the majority of the room raised their hand for every strength I asked about.
When I asked if they believed in themselves and their abilities the majority of the children raised their hands.
I was talking in front of year 3 and 4 children which for me is the optimal age for getting to them before they start to doubt themselves.
As I watched my own children grow, as I coached cheerleading squads from 5 years old to 13 years old, as I talk to children on the author circuit I can see, that through comparison and judgement of self and others, children start to lose the magic of "anything is possible" around the age of 10.
The voices around them and therefore the voices in their heads start to change. The chatter becomes different. There's more hesitation and judgement. Dreams start to get questioned and the possibilities start to fizzle.
The reality is that opportunities are actually everywhere! But to see them, we've got to believe in the possibilities.
Wouldn't it be great if we could keep kids believing in themselves? If we could capture that enthusiasm, excitement and wonder so often experienced in Kidnom and carry it around with us forever?