Creating Rather Than Consuming: A Vision for the Young
In his speech on Monday, President Obama said, that our era needed to empower young people “to create, build and invent — to be makers of things, not just consumers of things.”
It's an exciting idea. Maybe in the near future we'll have more teen lab rats rather than mall rats. So much money is spent every year marketing to teens--creating products "for teens", trying to follow the next social media/networking trend that might have revenue-creating potential--that it's truly a revolutionary concept to think about what young people have to give rather than what can be taken from them (or their parents, through them).
A quick Google search revealed that the top hits for "what teens want" have to do with advertising, social media, technology, teen pregnancy/health care, and surprisingly, news. It is kind of sad that so often young people are perceived as these sullen creatures who must be prevented from screwing up while their need to belong is exploited by ever-changing fads.
Of course, there are many teens who have broken out of this mold, creating their own activist organizations and excelling in the sciences and the arts. I am hopeful, however, that structures can be created to appeal to the untapped creativity of all the young people who have something more to give than becoming experts within the limited set of choices they see as open to them...choices that don't include scientific achievement.