Build it (write it, tape it, create it) and they will come. The genius and inspiration of a 9 year old’s cardboard arcade. #dayofplay

I look to life and nonfiction for my fiction because I cannot imagine in my wildest dreams the horrors, the beauty, and mind-blowing inventions and achievements that surround me.  Case in point: I did a doubletake when I read in Forbes that three days — 3 days! — after a video was posted, an entire foundation was set up that is helping reinvigorate school’s curriculums.

The American school system is in a sad state. I’m even further saddened as I see my toddler daughter growing and see how children are born to learn. They are natural biologists and scientists; they are excited to discover the wonders of the world. But in our race — and by “our” I mean us parents (esp in this helicopter parenting age) as much as the government and school system — to get the top scores and make sure everyone graduates using the same worn-out tools, we engage in divisive politics and end up squelching children’s natural inclinations until we’re left with teens who are either stressed out by 12 or addicted to shopping and texting and can’t place US on a world map. It’s a tragedy if ever that word was to be defined.

But — if you ever despair of a problem that seems insurmountable and keep using excuses like “it’s more complex than that” — STOP.  Tackle one simple solution at a time to get to the end goal. Kids can’t always afford tutors or good schools? Enter the Khan Academy. Can’t afford MIT? Enter MITx.

The passion and devotion of one child led him to his arcade’s first customer. This customer was so moved by this that he videotaped Caine’s story.  That video led to a $250,000 matching grant from the Goldhirsh Foundation that enabled the Imagination Foundation to be founded the very next day. What is this video? A simple one.

What this also shows is always be ready. You never know when opportunity will strike whether it’s for your career, for an activist movement, or in your personal life. Even if that money had come but no one knew how to use it, nothing further would have been achieved. If the foundation had been set up but there hadn’t been dedicated workers to turn the mission statement into action items, then the story would have ended. Instead, a movement was initiated that could — could because the efficacy of it remains to be seen — now positively affects thousands of students in five countries.

Not everything that deserves a BRAVO!! is a performance. Bravo, Caine and Bravo, Nirvan.

 

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