We wrote Creating Capable Kids simply because parents and teachers are expending endless amounts of time and energy to raise “successful” children, yet kids and teens are growing increasingly anxious, stressed, depressed and confused. Even academic superstars are lacking in a host of capablilites, including creative problem-solving, unbiased reasoning and social-emotional skills. Adults are realizing that children need more than academic skills to succeed. In our book we define the 12 learning capabilities that allow children to succeed no matter what life throws at them. By building a learning relationship with children and teens adults will find a fresh and positive way of interacting that helps them accomplish the three most valued abilities in life – to learn from life’s myriad situations, creatively problem solve and find meaning that allows them to continuously learn. This isn’t difficult nor does it require learning new skills. Children are literally born to learn these capabilities, as they have been essential to their survival for tens of thousands of years. And adults have developed over the millennia
Developing these capabilities is critical to success in the broadest sense but also in school, as 80 percent of the difference in academic outcome is due to non-school factors. That’s right, teachers only control a small piece of a the academic pie. How children develop and learn during their free time is the key to success in school. This goes far beyond encouraging children to read and write. How they learn, think, pay attention, develop interests and establish relationships largely happens outside of school.
Creating Capable Kids offers a simple yet powerful solution to this dilemma; parents and teachers primary role is to build a relationship based on promoting children and teens’ innate learning abilities. The energy expended controlling kids’ behavior, lecturing them and taking over cognitive tasks, including thinking, planning and problem solving for them, is channeled into building learning relationships and twelve essential capabilities. By using Small Moments at home and in school, adults build a Learning Relationship with children by gently nudging everyday activities, interests, interactions and experiences into Big L Learning – intrinsic learning that arises from attentive, interesting and self-motivated experiences.
This creates capable children who are curious and inquisitive, with many interests involved in a range of activities. They are imaginative and creative, coming up with intriguing ideas, stories and dialogues. Capable kids know how to reason, evaluate and make sound decisions. Their minds like to time travel, reviewing the past and planning for the future. They find the big picture and take-home messages from the avalanche of factual information. They are fair and ethical, empathetic and caring, deriving strength from all kinds of friendships and relationships. They can handle anything that life throws at them, cognitively, socially or emotionally. Most of all, capable kids understand themselves, how they learn and the many places their minds take them.
Parents and teachers benefit by developing a positive relationship with kids, a different perspective on children’s immense learning capabilities and an appreciation of the many wonderful places that their minds roam as they learn.
Children who are curious, inquisitive and active explorers will develop a fascination with the world and become life-long learners.Children who are imaginative and creative, who think in narratives and listen to others will be strong problem solvers and find meaning in life. Kids and teens who are aware of the the sub-conscious powers of their minds to time travel to learn from the past and plan for the future, who see the big picture and make fair and reasoned judgments will make positive decisions. Finally, Children who understand the powerful messages in emotions, develop relationships based on mutual problem solving and respect and who are connected to their inner self will flourish even in a chaotic and confusing world.
Creating children with these capabilities isn’t hard as they are part of children’s nature and innate ability to learn. Adults, too, are “programmed” to help children learn, though these instincts have been suppressed by formal schooling and cultural trends.
For millennia, children and adults