My son is a maker

My son is 8. He’s a maker. He makes things out of paper. He makes things out of cardboard. He makes things out of Legos and blocks and TinkerToys and egg cartons and the styrofoam that comes inside packages. We’ve spent a fortune on masking tape and scotch tape and string and markers and glue, just so he can attach things together and decorate them to make even more complex things.

My son is 8. He’s a maker. Outside he makes things out of sticks and rocks and bark and leaves (at least those are still free). When it snows he makes sculptures and forts. He chalks up our driveway. And our porch. And the bricks and siding of our house.

My son is 8. He’s a maker. He draws. And draws. And draws. He writes and writes. He pens stories. He authors books. He creates scavenger hunts and costumes. He creates populations and universes, filling countless notebooks and pads and poster boards and sticky notes and index cards.

My son is 8. He’s a maker. He plays Spore, but mostly to design his own creatures and spacecraft. He likes Minecraft, Eden, Scratch, and Scribblenauts. He loves any video game or app that lets him make his own levels or characters or worlds (instead of playing what the designers gave him).

My son is 8. He’s a maker. He makes movies using our handheld camcorder. He takes funny photos with our digital cameras or smartphones. He uses the webcam and PhotoBooth to create story episodes. He makes up new songs using the piano or music software. He makes up rhymes and dance moves.

My son is 8. He’s a maker. He takes the figures and cards and tokens from multiple board games and combines them to make his own games. He repurposes card games and dice games into entirely new variations. He creates new word games and mind games and teaches us how to play on car rides or at the kitchen table.

My son is 8. He’s a maker. Give him five unconnected objects and five minutes and he’ll make something amazing. He pulls the neighborhood kids into what he makes, creating communities of joyous co-creators. He pulls his classmates and his teachers and his family into what he makes, his smile and enthusiasm infecting all of us.

My son is 8. He’s a maker. Will his classes enable him or quash him? Will his teachers inspire him or suppress him? Will his schools nurture his brilliant divergence or force him into a convergent, one-size-fits-all model?

My son is 8. He’s a maker. His world-changing skills and talents never will be reflected in an educational world of worksheets, end-of-chapter review questions, course exams, and bubble tests. How will you accommodate and recognize his gifts?

My son is 8. He’s a maker. Are you ready?