Monthly Archives: August 2015

Stop Learning, Start Thinking, and Create!

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“Stop Learning, Start Thinking, and Create!” Jacob Barnett

Below you will find a most inspiring Ted talk by a teen, Jacob Barnett! I am often searching through Ted talks in areas of my interests. I happen upon Jacob Barnett’s talk and was truly amazed. While most people will be amazed by this young person’s genius, I am amazed by his enthusiasm, humor, and happiness! Jacob lives his life focused on his passion, not his grades, IQ, or achievements. He is focused on what he loves, yet he’s not even sharing that subject (quantum physics), he is inspiring us to stop learning, think, and create. My writing would never do this talk justice, please watch it below.

If you haven’t heard of Ted talks…….

TED

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After watching the video you have learned that Jacob has autism. He speaks of the difficulties his parents encountered because of his developmental delays which included an inability to communicate and interact like a typically developing child.  The Barnett family refused to accept that their son would never learn or speak. Kristine Barnett’s book “The Spark” shares her story of staying focused on her little boy’s “spark”.

Whatever drew Jacob’s interest would be what she would use to try to connect her son to her world.  With that focus, much love,  creating childhood memories (in the midst of therapies), and carving a new path to educate her son, Jacob grows into an amazing child and has gone on to create an original theory in  astrophysics.  Jacob’s talk and his mother’s book speaks volumes to parents who might be struggling with similar problems and to all parents, no matter the situation, who want to see their children happy. Jacob’s message to us all is to stop the learning, take time to think about your passion, and use your unique perspective to create!

After reading “The Spark” I wanted to share the story and Jacob’s message to take our passions seriously no matter what they are. To recognize the passion in your children and encourage, no more than encourage, to give them opportunities to do their passion. Kristine Barnett worked with many children in her daycare and always found success when she focused on the children’s “sparks”.  She did not trust that her son’s school would do the same.

I do not know what their school’s plan would have been for Jacob, but I do know what systems are in place today. I appreciate Kristine Barnett’s positive message to focus on our children’s “spark” and to trust our intuitions (especially about our children), however, I would also like to support all the incredibly dedicated people working with or  parenting children with autism by offering a sense of what help for children with autism is like today.

Today there are caring professionals and parents who use a variety of approaches to bring out the best in children with autism. Schools support these children by educating their social and emotional smarts, as well as supporting or challenging them academically.  Parents also use outside resources to add to those efforts, such as play therapy and social skills groups.  Children with autism are of course, all unique individuals and may require a  balance of doctors, counselors, psychiatrists, psychologists, therapists, teachers, besides their main support system of family and friends. The needs of each child is not the same as another, some need more support while others need less.

In fact, ALL children need to be educated, supported, or challenged in academics, social skills, emotional intelligence, and mindfulness to bring out their best!

If I might add to Jacob Barnett’s encouragement, I would also encourage families this summer to spend some much-needed mindful family time along with a focus on your passions.

Stop learning, start thinking, be mindful, create, and be happy!