Sunday, January 2, 2011

Potential and Role Models

"The potential of a child is the most intriguing and stimulating thing in all creation."  —Ray Lyman Wilbur

Having taught kindergarten in one school for thirty years, I've had the opportunity to watch many children grow through their childhoods developing from early childhood through the stages of childhood until they leave my school on the threshold (or a bit beyond the threshold) of adolescence.

A number of graduates of my school stop by to say hello from time to time as they go through their teens and on to adulthood. Every year my class includes a number of "grandstudents" (kindergartners who are the children of my  former students).

So I get to see the potentials of children become realized. I appreciate what Dr. Wilbur describes here. It is an honor to witness the growth and development of so many children. I've come to understand that the children who realize their potential most fully are the children who enjoy strong connections to a robust and interested network of adults.

Kids need grown up role models: teachers, parents, coaches, grandparents, aunts and uncles, neighbors, pastors, and so on.

If kids don't have adults who care about their well being, then these kids will find substitute mentors among their peers or in the media—really not good places to find mentors.

(Dr. Wilbur was the president of Stanford University and was active in politics, serving as Harding's personal physician. A dormitory complex at Stanford and a junior high school in Palo Alto are named after him.)

And here's a video of a kid named Birke Baehr who, at age 11, has realized a lot of his potential already.There's hope for the future. Just watch this kid:


Anonymous said...


Dan Gurney said...

Hi, Anon--that kid's pretty amazing, isn't he? How many of us could stand on a stage in front of hundreds of people and deliver a talk with as much aplomb?