How a little empathy can produce huge results for children

It’s not a stretch to say that children can be impatient. If something is not moving at the speed of the electrons in their iPads, they lose interest. They just want the answers, now.

As parents, or in my case, as an adult teaching a group of children the click-by-click intricacies of 3D modeling after school, I need to strike a balance between getting them to learn the software and just showing them the answer, which is their default preference.

“Mr. Seto, how can I make this sword?” asked one. “Mr. Seto, can you do this for me?” asked another. “Sorry, think through the process and give it another try.” I’d usually say to their disappointment.


Last week, however, I put on my empathy hat and had a look at what they were trying to make. One was a double barrel shotgun and another was a Pokeball. I tried making both and finished each one in about 20 minutes.


When I produced the results in class, they were astonished and very excited. I asked them how long they were working on their models. Both replied several days. Then I asked the class what tools do they think I used to make these models. That was a magic moment. All the hands, of all the children, went up when they realized that they had already known the tools needed. Polyline, Spline, Offset, Extrude. They just needed a little guidance, which began with a little empathy.

The other magic moment came when, 15 minutes later, both of these boys stood up, arms raised and yelled, “I did it!”


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