Unlocking Genius

Tim portrait reduced pixelsI have one son, ten years old, who is very interested in space travel and rockets and so forth. He is firmly convinced he can unlock the secrets of Warp Speed. Maybe he will someday. In order to feed his interest I check out a bunch of Junior level books from the library.

He read them and found them interesting, but complained that they didn’t give enough information. He really wants to know more of the intricacies, like what materials to use for the hull design, aerodynamics, how to mix the proper fuels and speed and trajectories . . . yeah, he’s funny.


Anyway I decided to get him adult level books and checked out a bunch for him. He is finding them very interesting and they’re not at all too difficult as far as reading level and I think he’s comprehending it better than I would, because he’s so interested he’s willing to make the extra mental efforts. Sure, he’s smart, but he’s not a genius . . . or maybe he is. After all genius is just a person who is allowed to explore and become immersed in his interests early, a person who thinks outside the box, a person who isn’t afraid to try.

Einstein was smart, but thousands of people now understand his theories and are improving on them.  Einstein’s genius was that he did it first.

There is no reason that your kids can’t have this genius as well. I firmly believe that every person born on this earth has gifts and talents, unique to them. There are contributions that every person can make that no one else could. Every person has their own genius, but most people never find it. They grow up in an environment where mistakes are punished, rather than learned from. They learn to follow directions rather than experiment. They are encouraged to stay with their “level”.  They are told to get good grades, go to college, get a good secure job working for someone else, and retire when they are 65, or whatever the current age the government allows for social security payments. In short, they are told to just get along and follow the rules and everything will be okay. And that’s true, everything will be okay, but everything could be better.

To unlock your kids (or your own) genius explore the things that interest. There’s a good chance they’ve never tried the thing that will bring out their passion. They keep doing the same activities, the same sports, the same chores, the same types of books and so on. Push them a little to try new things and when something does spark an interest follow it up, facilitate their dreams.

My son’s interest in spaceships was ignited when we watched the Star Trek movies and a bunch of the TV episodes all the way back from Captain Kirk up to The Next Generation (we’re still working our way through Star Trek). I have checked out books and he’s built rocket kits. If his interest hangs on we’ll see about NASA space camp for kids, then we’ll see. This isn’t his first interest and it probably won’t be his last, but somewhere along the way, he’ll find his passion, his gift.  That is unlocking genius.

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