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3 Steps to Help Your Kids
Become World-Class Experts.
In the book Outliers: The Story of Success, the author, Malcom Gladwell writes, “researchers have settled on what they believe is the magic number for true expertise: ten thousand hours…In study after study, of composers, basketball players, fiction writers, ice skaters, concert pianists, chess players, master criminals and what have you, this number comes up again and again…no one has yet found a case in which true world-class expertise was accomplished in less time.”
So, according to the book, it takes about 10,000 hours of practice to reach world-class expertise in…anything!
A typical hyper-busy student (homework,sports, dance, etc.) who discovers her talent by age 13, realistically only gets about 1 hour of practice per day (this is being generous). According to the 10,000 hour theory, it will take 27 years to reach 10,000 hours (7 days per week).
That’s 40 years old!
But wait! Marriage, children, bills, chores, repairs, tragedy, celebration, etc. With all the life distractions, I estimate that 10,000 hours is not reached until her 50’s. By this time, “practice” has been spread out too much. Her gift is now at best, a hobby.
Part of the problem – balance.
As a school teacher I often hear, “we need to make students who are well-rounded and balanced individuals.”
Yes, well-rounded and balanced has its place, but has it gone too far? Kids spend far too much time doing…everything: soccer, dance, homework, video games, tv, clubs, church, on and on and on.
Even in school– we want them to be good at math, science, language arts, social studies, art, FCE, TE, PE…
Society has too many mediocre novices. We call them “Jack of all trades.” Yes, we know people with deep expertise, but too often in something without passion. They’re stuck in a job and excel at obligation.
Now, before you send me anger mail, let me say that I am a BIG proponent of a well-rounded education. However, as I mentioned, I believe it has gone too far and is hurting us as a nation.
How will kids compete as adults in a global market if they are not given enough time to:
1. discover their passion
2. practice, practice, practice and become world-class experts.
A solution (3 steps)
1. Don’t get caught up! Don’t force kids to be soooo well rounded and balanced. Yes, give them the foundation of skills and experiences they need, but give them enough time to really excel in their gifts and to truly be world-class!
2. Give your child lots of experiences. BUT, when she discovers her gift, let her do it!
*note – there is a difference between something your child loves to do because they …love doing it and their true giftedness. Parents, it takes lots of time and observation to help your kids identify their true gifts…be patient! Check out this book for more information
3. Give her lots of time to practice, practice, practice.
My wife and I began doing this years ago. We have two daughters who love life. They excel in their gifts (one drew the pic for this post). They are still teenagers! I figure they’re already more than half-way to reaching their 10,000 hours.
My wife and I now require 4 things from our daughters:
- Maintain time to know God (church, youth group, etc.).
- Chores and homework are complete.
- Friendships are maintained.
- Gifts: practice, practice, practice, practice, practice…
- Our daughters someday land great jobs doing skillfully what they love to do (with world-class expertise).
- They support my wife and I, and buy us lots of cool stuff.
Hey, do you have a student who has the gift of innovation? You know, they love to build things, play with legos, put things together, take things apart, etc. I can help them become world-class.
Wayne Kroeplin is a Technology and Engineering teacher. He is the creator of Innovators Tribe. A place where students with “innovative super-power” can learn more about and practice their world-class gift of innovation.