In my quest of inspiring young dreamers (in public primary schools) to taking their imaginations into becoming innovations for their communities, I walked into and discovered the presence of shame. Shame is a subtle epidemic that is infecting and incapacitating the character of our young people worldwide.
In this encounter, I got clear that with the existence of shame is the inexistence of character. Research professor and author, Brené Brown, says,
“shame is highly correlated with addiction, depression, aggression, suicide, violence, bullying and eating disorders.”
Apparently, these common daily habits are incapable of sustaining the creativity, innovation and prosperity we crave in our communities.
Ignorance is No Bliss
Nonetheless, these same habits have found their ways into our primary schools and are infecting the individual creativities of young dreamers. From my experience visiting Nigeria and working with young dreamers, when I engaged a pupil about himself – his desire and interest, he gets quiet, he puts his hand on his head and then over his mouth and finally on his forehead. He looks up and looks down. He may smile or frown but remains silent and would not express himself nor say “I don’t know.”
Meanwhile, his peers are making a scene and behaving aggressively – laughing, teasing, horsing around or yelling out things for him to say (or do). However, this pupil, as soon as I move on to the next child, immediately reconnects with and becomes like his aggressive peers. Shame has rooted itself in fear of being rejected, seen as wrong or incapable. Unchallenged, shame leaves a long-term detrimental impact on the character of young dreamers, and consequently, the next generation.
Replicators Become Disgruntled Citizens
Despite this disheartening threat, I saw great potential and opportunity to inspire young dreamers. I could relate with the young dreamer. At age ten, I imagined creating the first space station in Africa and being among the first Nigerian astronauts to launch into the stars above. However, I remembered being ashamed of telling someone my dream. Perhaps the shame I experienced was the fear of looking silly or failing at my dream.
Even when I shared it, years later, I was warned of wasting my exceptional knowledge on, supposedly, an unreal and farfetched aspiration. I was advised rather, towards following a guaranteed-success career – an electrical engineer. With my feeble character, I had lost the dream. Decades later, I survived, as a victim of shame’s aftermath. I, unintentionally, planned and lead my life through ineffective habits (blaming, excuse, comparing, etc.) These habits had formed a disgruntled citizen, which hindered my ability for both personal success and contribution to my world’s prosperity.
Innovators Create Prosperity
We need every young dreamer’s innate creativity to innovate prosperous communities. Young dreamers need the “balanced education” that raises confidence in their uniqueness and leadership. “Balanced Education” is the antidote to shame’s epidemic in our communities. On one end, they need to learn and be taught about the world within which they exist. Simultaneously, on the other end, they need to be listened to, for them to self-learn the recognition and exercising of their innate creativity.
I have accomplished the latter, in working with young dreamers, by;
- Being a committed believer of the unrecognizable uniqueness
- Showing and giving validity to the imagination, original thoughts, and ideas
- Engaging the participation in activities that promote A.W.E.S.O.M.E habits/actions
- Encouraging failures as indicators and feedbacks for attaining personal success.
And you can do these also. In just after two weeks, I was touched (and still am) by most of the young dreamers’ success. I saw young dreamer become young innovator; ideas were expressed, despite the shame of thinking it’s wrong; responding to needs with possible immediate solutions without the shame of possibly failing; while faced with being misunderstood, staying focused on reaching the desired goal. Their simple transformations came from choosing boldness granted shame’s distractions and attacks. These young dreamers are our next generation today. Offering them “balanced education” is the platform for teaching and listening so that they are becoming their dreams, and innovating a prosperous world.
Thank you. I love to hear from you with your thoughts on inspiring young dreamers.