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Dear Parents: Please Let Your Kids Start That Side Project

This week was quite interesting; in two separate occasions I’ve heard from parents talking about how they (try to) ban their kids from pursuing side projects so they could focus on schoolwork. These kids are in the age range between 12-14. I personally feel it’s quite sad that instead of leveraging this interest to get the kid into schoolwork, they outright ban it.

Of course, I can sit here and talk about how some thought leaders such as Daniel Pink who wrote A Whole New Mind around the argument that as the world transitions from a knowledge economy to a creative one, mastering creative skills or aptitudes surrounding design, story and empathy would become more important than memorizing Pythagoras’s theorem and listing the capitals of all countries in the world.

But I’m not going to take this argument down that lane, because it’s simpler if people understood that many of these side projects could easily be used to support the kids’ schoolwork. The only downside is that usually, the direct results of their efforts don’t get graded, and that’s why they’re easy to dismiss.

One of the kids was into entrepreneurship, and that could easily be leveraged to get him interested in maths, business and computer studies. Another was into video production, and she could use that interest to come up with visual lessons for her fellow classmates.

There’s so much leeway for parents to set rules and boundaries around their kids’ side projects, but to outright ban them is just not right. Because for some people, having an outlet for creative self-expression is necessary to maintain their sanity. You also don’t want them to have a quarter-life crisis in the future.

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Published inEducation