20 June 2018

Code Club at UKFast - what inspires a child

Some of the young people that inspire us at UKFast – this group of apprentices in the back running a Code Club for the children in the front.

If you ask a child what they want to be when they grow up, you know what the answer will be. Astronaut, football player, nurse, doctor, unicorn rider… the list is endless.

Yet as we get older, those answers change based on our life experiences and the lessons we learn. Perhaps I won’t be a doctor because I’m not great at science. Perhaps I won’t be an astronaut because there aren’t that many astronauts out there.

We place these limiting beliefs on ourselves and suddenly our dreams becomes smaller and smaller. Our goals become more realistic and less ostentatious. But, why?

When you set a realistic goal, you set something within your comfort zone; something you know you can achieve. Yet, it is when we truly stretch ourselves beyond this that the magic happens!
The value of children’s propensity to dream big has always been something I’ve championed. It’s invaluable. That we lose this in adulthood is a tragedy and is only to our absolute detriment.

Listening to a TED Talk from back in 2010 recently, I was again reminded of the extraordinary value of taking time to listen to what the younger generations have to say. Extraordinary 12-year-old Adora Svitak took to the stage at TEDX to talk of being ‘childish’ – that word so often negatively associated with irrational thinking. Yet it is this irrational thinking that gives children their magic, and that could open up so many possibilities for us as adults.1

When we become a little more irrational about setting our goals and plans for the future, we start to find possibilities we could never see before.

Child mentors

A few weeks ago I caught up with Jeremiah Emmanuel, a young man from London who has had an incredible journey so far. Having seen the people around him fall victim to youth violence, he set on a path to become a role model for the young people in his community and is now an inspiring entrepreneur.

In a podcast we recorded at the time, Jeremiah spoke of reverse mentoring. This involves young people coming into businesses, spending time with their boards and making suggestions on how they would approach issues differently. The process brings in a new perspective, a new point of view, from someone with less limited beliefs and no concept of ‘well that’s how we’ve always done it’.

We’ve seen the value of this first-hand, asking our younger team members for their input and feedback on different areas of the business. One apprentice has the potential to transform a part of our business with their fresh approach to a product we offer. It’s remarkable and has the potential to become a multi-million-pound standalone business.

All too often we dismiss the thoughts of young people based on their age. That’s a huge mistake.

In fact, children and young people are hugely resilient – how many times does a toddler fall and get back up? How many times does a child fall off their bike and get back on it? – and there’s a lot we can learn from their approach to life, if only we take the time to open our minds.

If you’re feeling the midweek slump, take a look at the below video for a little inspiration…

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