Why You Should Learn Tech Skills Alongside a Child...
You're too old to learn new tech skills, right? You've got your career, you don't really like math, and plus, it's boring, right? There's no way you'd be able to learn those things like coding or web development; that's for the next generation. Who really needs to know that stuff anyways? You've got Facebook mastered, so you're all set.
Honestly, you've got it all wrong.
The negative assumptions we make about ourselves is astounding. It's so easy for us to think we can't do something, are too old for something, or aren't smart enough for something. Remember when you were a kid? And I mean a young kid. Not a kid worried about going to college, or in college worrying about a career - an elementary or middle school aged kid. In a time in your life where you were more willing to make mistakes. In fact, the younger the better, because that will mean you are more of a risk taker. Here's why it was awesome at that time in your life - you weren't afraid to fail. And I don't mean afraid to fail as in getting an "F" on a test or report card. I mean failing at everyday tasks. Maybe you decided to build a bike ramp out of wood and then "tested" it without even giving it a second thought. There were no distracting thoughts like, "maybe that angle isn't right," or "that piece of wood might not be sturdy." Nope, you just built the ramp, hopped on your bike and went for it! And then after the jump...you evaluated whether you did it correctly or not. No hesitation. If it failed, and you weren't in the hospital afterwards, you rebuilt it. If it didn't fail, maybe you enhanced it to make it bigger and better. Bottom line was failure didn't matter.
As adults, we lose that freedom - the freedom to fail. We try to think everything out before doing it. We limit ourselves and our abilities so we don't fail. We don't take courses, try new sports, switch careers, all because we are afraid to fail. This happens all the time. You just need to become aware of it, and then you can fix it.
Nerd Orchard offers tech education courses to students of all ages. And if you look through our brief course descriptions, you will see that the ages for our classes are very broad. It might be 3rd graders through adults, or upper elementary students through adults, etc. Now some adults may be thinking, "I don't want to take a class with a bunch of kids." But trust me, that's exactly what you want to do. And you should sit right next to one while you take the class too. You see, kids aren't afraid to fail, and this is very evident when they are learning tech skills. They are awesome at taking a concept and running with it. They like to figure things out on their own. They will push buttons, open menus, type lines of code, and then simply say, "Oops, that didn't work." Then guess what? They'll try something new, until they find out what does work.
As adults, we carefully gather what the instructor says, and try to manipulate every move in our minds before we even do anything. We are a bunch of scaredy cats with analysis paralysis! Not to mention, we just throw our creativity out the window when we do this. That's why Nerd Orchard thinks it's a good idea to learn alongside kids. You can see that it's okay to mess up, in fact it's encouraged. And you can gain some confidence, and maybe get back some of your creativity that's been stifled from years of "failure phobia." Kids can be such good teachers if someone would just pay attention.
Learning new tech skills is fun, and rewarding. It gives you a confidence boost, and let's be honest, who doesn't need one of those? So, don't look at a class listing and think, "No, I'll never use that. I know nothing about that." Instead, look at a class listing and think, "I don't know anything about that, but I will soon."
Maybe you'll use that skill, maybe you won't. But if you turn everything down because you're uncomfortable with it, you're missing the point. It's because you are uncomfortable with it that you should learn it. Then check it off your list.