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Cale Sears

Curator, TEDxCoMo


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Why aren't kids (+ young adults) given more credit?

Young people are full of ideas, plain and simple. I feel like many times someone with a great idea is cast aside because of their age, they just get pushed into this category of "child" with the stereotype that they're unknowledgeable and naive. Sometimes we need a little of that childlike belief that our problems CAN be solved. At the very least it makes the world seem a bit brighter.

So what can a young person do to have their ideas or solutions to problems taken more seriously?

What are some ways they could get creative?


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    Dec 18 2011: I'll try to be a bit of an honest rabble rouser here... Why aren't kids given more credit? They haven't done anything to earn any credit yet. It's going to be at least a decade, before you do anything even remotely interesting... and, despite that, in fact, I would argue that kids get more credit for their ideas than anyone else does. When's the last time you heard an adult, go out of their way to complement another adult on anything? Adults complement children all the time.

    When you get older what you realize is that ideas don't matter... Actions matter.... Do something... Fix a problem and people will start listening to you. No one is going to help you. If you have an idea that will solve a problem, write a petition, and start working your town square. When you're the kid who got a mayor elected, people will give you some credit.

    I only mention this because I think that I happen to be at a good age for understanding (29). For most of my life,I wondered why I couldn't get people to listen to me... Then I reallized, that no one, listens to anyone. It's not that kids are mistreated, or seen as naive, it's just that when you get older, you've heard a million ideas that would all save the world, or the company, or the country, and you've never seen anyone actually follow one of those ideas to fruition. No one has protested anything in 40 years... Basically, our parents generation, the baby boomers, never grew up, they are still children, and they run the country now. They never reallized that talk, and ideas are cheap, actions are expensive.

    We are the first generation of children to grow up without a generation of adults, and so the last thing we can worry about, is what they think, or whether or not they like our ideas. We just have to work hard, and let them die off. If your ideas are good, you don't need an "adult" to encourage you. You need to to become a workhorse, and do it all on your own. Our generation, doesn't have "an adult in the room
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      Dec 18 2011: I think ideas do matter though, that's why TED exists...as a vehicle for change through the spread of ideas..
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        Dec 19 2011: See, I think that's the mistake, all young people make... I certainly did. The people on TED aren't amazing because of their ideas, they are amazing because they are turning those ideas into actions... That's why we all respect them. Just having the idea is nothing...

        Spreading the idea, encourages young people, to help the speakers put their ideas into action. If TED is just making you think, and not making you volunteer, it's not doing it's job. The goal of spreading ideas is to encourage mass action.

        If TED is merely an outlet that makes us feel like people are listening to us... then it is actually doing us a dis service, it is making us feel like our ideas are out their impacting the world, while in fact we just sit in front of the computer...

        Finally, I think you missed my most important point... What world do you live in, where kids are given less credit for their ideas than adults? I have experienced nothing but the opposite, my entire life. Adults are always complementing and encouraging children to "follow their dreams", they're always telling children "that was a brilliant idea" even when it's not... So I would argue that it's actually an over emphasis on creativity, and ideas in the extremely young (5-11 ish), that creates the illusion as you rise into teenage adulthood that "people aren't listening to me anymore".

        What you ignore is that "adults" don't listen to people who haven't done anything yet. There are maybe 500-1000 real adults left in this entire world, that are actually putting their ideas to good use... and those are the people "adults" listen to. They listen to inventors, and business owners, and scientists, that are actually putting their ideas to work... Why would anyone want adults to listen to people who aren't?
        • Dec 22 2011: I have to say I respectfully disagree with most of what you're saying. Before actions can even occur, an idea must be born. In that respect, the idea is the most important part. The next important part I would agree with you is the action and the following. But it's in the idea that can spark the following. If you had an idea that was mediocre at best but you were able to have a following, it would be a mediocre event. If you had a brilliant idea and were able to invoke the same response, it would be an incredible event. Not everyone is a leader, and not everyone is an idea-maker. To have both is remarkable. Sometimes those who come up with a fantastic idea can use the leader to put it into action.
          You said if TED is just making us think, it's not doing its job. But what is philosophy? By thinking we are developing our minds to better understand and transform ideas into something more. Not all ideas require action. And sometimes action is a personal kind- a reflective transformation.
          I think that the encouragement towards children that you speak of is somewhat hollow. If A co-worker were to come up with a creative idea and be supported it would be different than an 8 year old coming to his father with a creative idea and be supported. Since children of that age aren't taken too seriously on their ideas, it is more of a hollow support in order to nurture their creativity. It's immensely important to their growing that they know they can be creative if they choose to. I think it is the child-like adults that are the most successful in that they have the creativity and vivaciousness of a young mind in a body that has aged, rather than those who give into the age-old perception that "adults" can't be kids.. which is false. What separates children from adults? Age? Age only reflects experience. Maturity? I have known 16 year olds that are much more mature than 50 year olds. It all lies within.
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        Dec 22 2011: @ Matt Wolfe I think that the problem with your philosophy, is that it is based in the idea that people haven't already come up with all of the brilliant ideas to solve our problem. They have. The ideas are out there, the world just isn't controlled by intelligent, or caring people anymore, so they don't recieve investment capitol, and they don't recieve support.

        I would argue that, yes, the encouragement I describe towards children is often hollow... but so is the praise of a boss for a line worker. In the real world, you are less likely to recieve support as a manual laborer who feeds or clothes children, then you are to recieve support as a child.

        I would also argue that the world you describe wanting is the world we have. Adults that act like kids. Adults who have absolutely no self respect, or dignity left... Our children were turned into debt slaves, our bill of rights was erased, and we became a nation of people who is accepting of torture... No one did anything... We're all children now... We're all waiting for the adult in the room to do something, and it's killing us.
    • Dec 20 2011: I completely disagree David, not everyone is going to need 15, 20, or 30 years "before you do anything even remotely interesting". For example, there is a 12 year old boy who has written 5 full length symphonies already, something that most composers MIGHT accomplish in a lifetime, I find that quite interesting. Now yes, he has obviously taken his ideas and worked them out into action, I agree with that point, but I am sure that he has had help and support along the way (ex. his parents bought him a bass when he was very young).

      However, that is exactly what is wrong with our world, no one listens. I believe the purpose of this conversation is not whether children and young adults are heard and given praise for good ideas. That happens all the time, even too much, like you said when kids are over praised for mediocre work/ideas. It is the fact that when they have an incredible idea that could change the way we live, no one gives the idea real merit because of the person's age. No one truly believes and is willing to get involved or even discuss the idea because the idea is automatically discounted due to age.

      Another example, like I said before, is rules and terms of competitions that rule out entrants that are below a certain age. Of course, I understand that for certain laws people need to be over 18 or 21, but over than that I believe this is unnecessary in most situations.
      • Dec 21 2011: I've always wondered what other people think about the relationship between a great idea that changes the world if actualized, and the creation of a tremendous symphony, which certainly might make a small group of people feel better, but which, in my opinion, does exceptionally little to make any difference whatsoever in the lives of people in real need. I have to imagine that a very high percentage of ted's members and fans, are significantly interested in taking steps that work against what seems to be perpetual oppression. By that i mean the fact that a considerable percentage of the people in our world, never have any practical chance whatsoever of realizing their dreams, unless they're truly supermen or superwoman who'd flush nietzsche's cheeks. I have long fought for the idea that ART alone is far from sufficient to achieve anything approaching a state of free and equal peace for the human family who together inhabit this magical but staggering planet. I know it seems ignorant to many people, but when comparisons are made between a pianist and a brilliant researcher who gives their life to save millions of lives from some hideous disease, i get more than a little bit uncomfortable. The application of our creative abilities to various and unique pursuits, while entirely within our rights, can vary in what i would consider to be their objective value. Kids seem to choose their dreams in a great proportion of cases, largely as the result of having only been directly exposed to a highly limited set of options. A child inventor, no matter how great, is largely left exposed to a capitalist industry with a voracious appetite for whatever can generate more extra revenue, and from what i can see, unable to share his or her idea with any kind of great international philanthropic organization. In fact, the entire means we possess for generating and protecting the rights of inventors, as i'm sure is discussed otherwhere in TED, is ridiculous if we seek enlightened society

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