I first heard of Teen Wonder: Taylor Wilson through this National Geographic article. I have always been fascinated by child prodigies, and despite all that snoozing I did in science class, I’ve always been intrigued by science: huge fan of Mr. Wizard , Discovery Channel and National Geographic.
I even went through an “I’m going to be an inventor!” phase that lasted all the way through elementary school before it fizzled out quickly with the middle school maturity that science wasn’t cool, and the high school realization that naps were more fun.
Even in college, I evaded science like the plague, but was likely one of the few watching the Discovery Channel over Friends reruns.
Still, it wasn’t until I became fascinated with quantum physics, at thirty, that I came back to science and embraced my inner nerd, proudly. In an effort to get back all that lost time, I read and watch TED religiously. Right now, I’m in the midst of 17 hours of metaphysics through an audio lecture series.
All that said, I’m no closer to becoming an inventor than I was in 3rd grade, and I’m cool with that. I respect the minds of those who do, I need more charts and pictures, frankly. In fact, in the above TED talk, it wasn’t until the last 30 seconds, when Taylor infused philosophy and metaphor did I say, “Aha! That I get.”
Here is another child prodigy that I’ve been following: Jack Andraka (just watch the first 30 sec;)
Now that’s passion!
I think that’s why I’m so obsessed with child prodigies. They just know. They come out of the womb with this insatiable purpose. Yet there are so many of us chomping at the bit to find even a glimpse of passion.
The great thing about kids/teens that both of these young men attribute their success to is ignorance. They didn’t know they couldn’t do it: an incredible reminder to tap into our inner kid and just be badass.
I am confident that kids will change the world. I’m thrilled for it actually. Just be sure not to let your fear and doubt douse the fire of their innate curiosity. Child prodigies have something that many of us didn’t: unyielding family/mentor support.
I leave you with this: What did you want to be when you grew up? Randy Pausch talked a lot about this in The Last Lecture. As kids, we’re more in-tuned with our intuition. Those dreams that our family likely brushed off, could hold some big clues. Tap into your kid wisdom, and hang out there for a bit.