6 Skills You Should Learn From These Incredible Kids and Grannies

Fixing, mending and making used to be encouraged. In fact, often it wasn’t just the best option...it was the only option. So how can we inspire a new generation to embrace fixing? And what can the next lot of young fixers bring to the table to help accelerate change?

We’ve all got a role to play to help create a more sustainable future, and luckily, each generation’s upbringing comes with a slightly different mindset and set of skills to help us make, mend, hack and improve. Fixing together is a fantastic opportunity for different generations to learn from each other.

We’ve put together some of the everyday skills and attitudes older and younger generations can share:

What can Adults Learn from Kids?

1) The Value of Curiosity 

Children never stop asking questions, and we think that’s great! Questioning the status quo is the best way to discover new and improved ways of doing things. Youngsters are so curious and enthusiastic that they rarely think their ideas are too small to matter. They are natural optimists. They believe ‘every fix counts’. 

Cole, a 10-year-old elementary student from North Carolina, discovered the packaging for McDonald’s was causing deforestation in his local area. So he did what came naturally to him – he asked them to change it. His letter was part of their inspiration to switch to 100% recycled materials. Not only that, Cole then decided to take the same approach with KFC.

You can watch his inspiring journey below.

2) The power of creativity

The creative spirit governs most children. Their imagination helps them find new and creative ways to solve even the biggest of problems. At 10-years-old Olivia Bouler decided to put her artistic talents to work. She drafted a letter to the Audubon Society offering to use her bird drawings to incentivise people to donate. Olivia initially thought she’d draw 500 pictures and raise roughly $200 – she eventually helped raise an astounding $200,000 

3) How To Use Technology To Create Solutions

Children today grow up surrounded by incredible technology. They’re digital natives fluent in apps and gadgets. This somewhat stunning understanding of tech has led to many brilliant childhood innovations.  

When Kelvin Doe from Sierra Leone was 13, he taught himself to make batteries from scrap metal and acid and used them to power local homes. He later became the youngest visiting practitioner for the MIT. Kelvin went back to his home country as an engineer with a mission: to inspire other young people to be technological innovators.

What can kids Learn from their elders?

1)How to process complex information 

The sheer amount of information available in the world can often be exhausting. For children, filled with curiosity, it’s understandable that they will occasionally feel distracted or disheartened by the volume of social and environmental issues in the world. Experience gives adults the ability to process and absorb complex information. Adults can teach younger generations how to decipher problems and develop the skills to take action.

Maritza Morales Casanova was so concerned by the lack of environmental education children were receiving through mainstream Mexican schools, she set up Ceiba Pentandra, an environmental education theme park. There’s no set curriculum. Complex ideas and theories are taught in fun and accessible ways. By tapping into kids’ natural creativity, the organisation finds it easy to inspire them to effect change. It’s an amazing story. Watch it here.

2) A Make-Do-and-Mend Mindset

Our elders have the greatest knowledge about living a resourceful life. Take a look at this wartime information film created for the ‘make-do-and-mend’ campaign. It aimed to encourage people to recycle old clothes, as new materials were scarce. For most people growing up at the time, make-do-and-mend came naturally, born of necessity. This can-do attitude and approach to practical problem-solving developed DIY skills. Important lessons for younger generations growing up in our current throwaway culture.

Anne and Jackie Taylor, two friends from Seaford, collect milk bottle caps. In fact, last year they collected 39,000 of them. By recycling the caps, they raise money for a local hospital. They saw huge potential in an item most people don’t give a second thought. Nothing represents the ‘make-do-and mend’ spirit better!

3) How To Be Responsible For Our Actions

Teaching kids to be eco-conscious is a great real-world example of personal responsibility in action. Talking about sustainability teaches children that our actions have consequences; that we all have a part to play in improving the things we share. It can be taught simply and indirectly like choosing reusable bottles and Tupperware for packed lunches, or spending spare time on fun and easy upcycling craft projects, or simply encouraging kids to fix and make things.

If you want to join a diverse community of fixers and makers of all ages and nationalities, look no further than the Sugru community. Discover lots more tips on how to live a sustainable life. We love to share cool ideas through #MySugruFix. If you’d like to share any of your Sugru fixes with our community, head on over to Instagram, Facebook and Twitter and prepare to inspire!