Stephen Hawking sadly passed away last month, but what a role model he was for a generation of youngsters. In fact, for more than one generation.
It’s not just that he inspired youngsters to study science, he was a living example that attitude is everything.
Just imagine you’d been told you were going to die in two or three years’ time. What would you have done with your remaining time? The medical profession have studied long and hard to achieve their qualifications – why would any of us decide that they were wrong and actively decide to achieve a different outcome?
Developing a can-do mindset
The attitude of ‘I can achieve anything I set my mind to’ sets people on the path to success. This mindset of working out how to get what you want, even if it means circumventing a few setbacks, is just what the next generation needs to be developing.
How do your kids deal with problems? Are they inclined to give up, or do they unravel things a bit and see if there’s another way that might work.
Very few things in life go totally according to plan, so learning to deal with stumbling blocks is an important life skill. It would be great if life went smoothly without any bumps in the path, but in the real world, that’s not usually how it works. Encouraging your kids to have, at least, a plan B will help them to come to terms with setbacks.
Stephen Hawking made his name from thinking creatively about various theories and how they all impacted on each other. He took them out of their ‘boxes’ and worked out how to put them together.
I’m not suggesting that your kids are encouraged to become theoretical physicists, but that they understand the value of thinking about things. Examining issues from different angles often makes things look very different, whether it’s the nature of a black hole or what the teacher said.
The confidence to share
If there’s one thing that kids are good at these days, it’s sharing. They can over-share – nobody really wants to know what your dinner looks like! However, academics tend to live in a rarefied atmosphere where their theories and discoveries are couched in complex language and only spoken about to others living in the same academic bubble.
Stephen Hawking broke that mould – and even though he could have been forgiven for avoiding being in the public eye, he actively sought out the limelight and shared his thoughts with the world outside academia. He made it accessible to people who weren’t physicists.
His family and friends admit he was something of a showman, but it’s only those who share their thoughts that become well-known. Their theories and discoveries reach a much larger audience, who benefit in all kinds of ways.
Whilst you don’t want to encourage your kids to boast, do get them to share their thoughts. They’ll learn more from healthy dialogue with others and who knows where that may lead!