I want to discuss three simple words that can change your perspective and possibly your community. Discover. Create. Connect
These three words (Discover.Create.Connect) have been game changers for every culture and generation before. And while I am not talking about those big discoveries in history from medical breakthroughs or an expedition to find new lands or creating the first automobile. If you want a more vibrant community, to inspire our youth and to enrich your life- then these three words and this post are for you.
To Discover-is to find something or someone unexpectedly. When is the last time you discovered something new?
Kids are great at discovering things. Kids are curious aren’t they? They love to explore and go on adventures. Those adventures might take them to a far away destination pretending to be a pirate searching for gold or it might take them to an underground secret superhero cave. And sometimes they discover shiny rocks along the beach covered by the sand. But whether a child is discovering a make believe world or beauty the lands have to offer, that child is continuously discovering new things.
Kids have their eyes open, ears alert and mind on the ready. They are always looking to find something unexpected.
When I was a skinny, awkward 12 year old, I took an adventure (and quite a big one). I headed to West Virginia with a group of girl scouts on a Spelunking trip. We hiked through a cow pasture and into the underground caves to go spelunking. Remember those caves we conjure up as kids? Yep, I found those caves and while there weren’t any superheros I was awe struck.
One minute we entered a part of the cave that seemed to reach to the heavens (well at least 3 stories high) and as we went further into the cave the walls seemed to close in on us, as if the cave was living. My imagination was conjuring up all sorts of creatures I dreamt up as a child.
As we walked in darkness with only the glowing light of our head lamps, the cave walls blocked the path in front of us and we had to crawl on our bellies to get to the next tunnel in the cave. Soon after the cave began to open up again and we had to go through a section much like a river with icy cold water we waded through in order to keep moving forward in the cave.
Not only did I discover the beauty and how much life lived underground but what was exceptional and stayed with me is that our chaperones let us, those 11 and 12 year old girls, navigate through the cave, and find our way back out hours later. Talk about Discovery! At the age of 12 I learned that I had the power to control my situation, assess the options and make the best choice possible, how to work together as a group, and find my voice.
If we look at discovery as something to seek every day, to search for it, we will begin to find ourselves looking for new things to discover- whether it be a new restaurant, a new business, to try a new class or skill, or meet a new neighbor. We will begin to ponder questions, like- where does that lead? Am I passionate about this? We become more aware and ask what have I discovered about myself, my loved one, my neighborhood and neighbors.
See successful entrepreneurs live in a constant state of discovery- they are looking and watching how the industry is changing, listening to customer feedback, and buying patterns. They are discovering what is going on in their business and industry and what is changing daily.
If you want a richer life look to the kids who find an adventure even at home, as a pirate who discovers new lands and find wonderment even on a dirt path. And look to the entrepreneurs who are using skills such as listening, searching, and navigating to move their companies to a place others are not. Are you discovering new things?
Besides discovering, kids love to create and most entrepreneurs are driven by it.
How many of you reading this are creators? When was the last time you created something?
I think you are all creators. To create is to bring something into existence- to make, produce, generate, fabricate, build, or construct. We were given the tools to create things with our hands and mind. And since the beginning of time and throughout every culture humans have made things from pottery, clothing, and blankets to cars, and computers.
While the Industrial Revolution changed our need to make many items ourselves our desire to use our hands- to have a craft or trade is no exception. It’s estimated half of all US households take part in at least one craft activity and spend 29 billion dollars a year on craft items.
Today the maker movement is huge and growing across the country and in our neighborhoods.
For instance, I am making necklaces for teacher gifts, I have friends making furniture, clothing, craft beer and Art, Maker and Creative Spaces have opened around the country, such as the maker space in my area- 757 Maker Space.
So what can we learn about creating or being more creative in our lives from kids? Children live to create- they love to color, draw, paint, and design things, often making themselves the canvas.
Children create without all of the rules adults often follow.
For an example lets look at this picture.
What is the first things you think of when you see this horse?
What color crayon would you pick up to color this horse?
Which color would you be holding in your hand?
The first thing children do is see something most of us stopped doing year ago when they go to draw, color or create. They don’t create with tons of conditions and constraints. You see they color purple horses and rainbow ones. If we are to be more creative we have to stop seeing only brown horses. And if we want our kids to grow up being more creative and imaginative we have to stop telling them to make their coloring and drawing, “more realistic”.
Entrepreneurs are often in business because they want to create a product or offering and see it come to fruition. Entrepreneurs often have a desire to create something, to create their own unique purple horse.
What would happen if you start picking up the purple crayon? You might find yourself on an exceptional adventure creating something you never imagined. It seemed to work for Harold and his purple crayon adventures.
We need to use our hands and minds, to be creative and express ourselves.
Now i want to discuss connecting- joining together.
How many of you reading this have meet with someone new or joined a new group this week or month?
Besides our need to create and discover as humans we need relationships- to connect with others.
Entrepreneurs have to connect with others- either team members, customers and usually the community- and to grow and thrive they have to continue to connect with new people.
Kids need connections- and we need to make sure that kisd have real, in-person relationships with other people and the community.
Today more than ever we need to connect and be a part of our communities. If we want our neighborhood, city and country to thrive we need to get involved. More than ever before our neighbors need us to connect
We all have a story to tell and each of us wants our story to matter- for someone to listen.
The US is behind in education- now ranking 36th in the world in math, science, and reading. 1 in 50 children (or more) are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders, not to mention the number of children also diagnosed with ADD or a learning disability. And 1 in 28 children in K to 12 have a parent in jail, and the number of children without enough food to eat is staggering.
If you pay attention you will meet neighbors facing these issues. And our country is raw from acts of violence in schools and businesses, and racial violence as well.
Now is when we need to be real. Be drawn to others or to an effort, if we want to see our communities thrive we have to get out and have meaningful connections with others.
For instance, I coordinate a program called Lunch buddies at a local elementary school. Kids that might need attention, are shy, have social anxiety, difficulty at home, a parent deployed, lack self confidence are picked to have lunch with an adult volunteer in a group setting. As the program starts each Fall we are told the child’s name, classroom teacher and grade but over the course of the school year we learn about each of the kids from what they choose to share with us.
Some of the kids live with 1 parent, a parent in jail, live with grandparents, or even have a disability. Some of the kids start out shy, and most of the kids still love math, PE, and to read.
When I talk about connections its hard to measure the impact we have on these kids because its not being rated but I can tell you about a boy I’ll call Clay. Clay was a small blonde haired boy who was paired with my husband, as the counselor said he should be paired with a man. I sat across from Clay at lunch. When Clay first joined us he looked down at the table and as he spoke his hands shook and his voice was not above a whisper, but over the course of the year on those 2nd Wednesdays of the month, Clay began to look up, his voice grew stronger, and his shaking hands became steadier, I saw his kind eyes looking at me more, and the curve of his lips turning into a smile. He was genuinely happy to see us and converse with us. He seemed to feel safe and comfortable.
I don’t know the extent of the impact those lunches will have on Clay as he leaves us for Summer but I know the connections mattered because I know they left an impact on me and my husband.
At the end of the year in the Spring we throw the kids who participate in lunch buddies a picnic. The picnic is outside in front of the school as long as the weather is nice. This past picnic, as we set up the tables putting on the tropical table clothes, and filling the tables with many different foods, I remember thinking the picnic wasn’t a big deal. I did not think it was a big deal until the kids came rushing out with smiles from ear to ear and giggles filled the air. Then I knew in that hour we may have made their day and hopefully had a lasting impact on them but they changed our hearts.
One little girl named Sarah in 3rd grade said to her lunch buddy Diane, “This is the best day of my life! I have never had a picnic before.” So when I say go out and connect. When I say find a way to be a part of your community. I am challenging you to find your Sarah and give her the picnic she has never had because I did and it changed me forever. Go meet your neighbors, join a group or cause in your area and share your voice, or knowledge, stories or skills. And disconnect from your smart phones and tablets, headphones and music to reach out to those around you.
My challenge to each of you is to ask yourself how sill I
Discover. Create. Connect Today.
You have permission to
Discover New Lands like a Pirate
Color Purple Horses and
Have a Picnic with Someone