June 29th, 2021 by Sara Buffington
This summer my rising 10th-grade son, Levi, is teaching kids how to code.
When he was 9, a NASA engineer friend held a class for kids 8-12 who wanted to learn how to code using the program Scratch. This program was designed by MIT to take the principles of coding and present them in a user-friendly way (almost like stackable Lego blocks). Levi took to the program like white on rice.
Since then he has made all kinds of games, animations, and graphics with the program. He loves it! Now he is learning formal coding languages. Learning Scratch sparked something in him—passion.
What do you do with a passion?
Did you know there are three stages of learning something new? First, you lay the foundation with learning the facts and names of the terms. Second, you make connections by asking questions, discussing with others, and thinking through cause and effect relationships. The third stage involves sharing what you learn—by creating something, writing or presenting, or teaching another.
At the start of the summer, I told Levi, “You’re in high school now. You need to DO something this summer.” So we came up with the idea of him hosting a coding class at our house. He would come up with the lesson plans, make the handouts, demo the projects, manage the class account, and lead the class. I sent an email blast out to all the parents I knew. We limited the class size to 8 because our home is not very large (and it seemed like a good size to start with).
Oh yeah, and we made the class free.
There are two reasons for this: 1) Levi is a novice teacher. This is as much of a learning experience for him as it is for his students, and 2) it would bless others.
Recently I heard the question, “What is important enough for you to spend your resources on?” Resources could be your money, your time, or your energy. All are in limited supply.
We usually spend our resources on ourselves and our families. That’s natural. But what happens when we spend our resources on others? Something miraculous.
Levi has learned so much by teaching this class. It has definitely increased his confidence, helped his interpersonal skills, and honed his leadership skills. But it has also sparked joy and passion in his students.
A couple of students have learning disabilities and struggle with reading. These have not been a hindrance with coding, and the students have soared, finding success in an academic area they previously knew nothing about. Levi’s passion is now their passion, too.
One parent told me that her son has attention issues and never wants to do anything academic. After the first class, he jumped out of the car at home and exclaimed, “I want to work on my coding project some more!” It brought tears to her eyes to see learning excite him for the first time.
We have all been given time, talent, and treasure.
The Bible tells us a story of a wealthy man who was going on a journey, so he entrusted three of his servants with his money (Matthew 25:14-30). The first two servants invested their money, and it doubled. The third servant buried his in the ground. When the man returned, he collected his money. He was pleased with the first two who had doubled what he gave them, but he scolded the third man. He had done nothing with what he had been given.
If all that we have comes from God, then what will we do with what he has given us? Will we invest it in loving God and our neighbors, or will we bury it?
Levi’s coding class success has shown me what happens when you invest your resources in others. Blessings overflow!
Do you have a story of when you have shared what you love with another? What happened? Let us know in the comments below!
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