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!”



Your child already has a professional problem

Your child already has a problem with his job. “What???” are you thinking, ”My child is still at school. How is it possible that he already has a problem with his job?” 


Think about it. About 98% of CEOs and HR managers have already huge difficulties to find the employees they are craving for (and at all skill levels!). They find lots of applicants with technical proficiency but most of them lack the skills required for success in the labor market of the 21st century at all employment levels and in all sectors.


Furthermore, a bigger problem is coming, something that will be a major earthquake in the years to come. According to studies in many countries, up to 65% of the jobs that will be available in less than 10 years have not been invented yet. It is a major problem for every country and everybody. From CEOs and HR managers to schools, students and parents. Can you imagine what the situation will be when your children will enter the work market? It will be even more than that.



Schools are supposed to teach our children the skills they will need to have a great professional life and an enjoyable personal life, right? OK, but for several reasons it seems that they are already inefficient in preparing our kids for the current work market. So, what will they do if so many changes occur and up to 65% of the jobs are brand new with no up-to-date curriculum delivered with them?


Many of you parents are already thinking that your children will endure a more difficult life than the one you have. You have numerous doubts about the future for your descendants. And kids can feel it! (Which is not a good thing…)


I am sure some of you have a lump in the throat while thinking about all these rocks on the road of your kids’ lives. Is there a solution to ease the future of our loved ones? What can we do as parents? Can we do something?

Greenfield Village Dearborn, Michigan

Greenfield Village
Dearborn, Michigan

I think so. Real Employability skills are one of the keys. I will tell you more next week. (Hint: perhaps a huge increase of STEAM in your child’s engine could help a lot?)

Enjoy your day and see you next week for the answer.



What if you could enjoy the future as much as your children? What if you could stay young longer than you think? And, what if you had already the best tool to do just that?


Many parents think their mission is to prepare their children for the future. Good or Bad? Of course Good!!!

Many parents think they will get older and their brain will decline too. Good or Bad? Of course Bad!!!


We, the parents, can choose to let our bodies get older faster or we can choose to do some physical and mental activities to stay in shape (or get back in shape 😉 ) and choose wisely what is good to eat and to drink. The big majority of us will live longer than our parents. Many of us will reach the age of 100. Personally, I prefer to get there in shape, both physically and mentally.

090903-N-5726E-083 SAN DIEGO (Sept. 3, 2009) Fred Fusilier, lead personal trainer at Naval Medical Center San Diego, leads a fitness aerobics class during the Health and Wellness Department Fitness Expo. The event featured health and wellness educational booths and various exercise classes offered at Naval Medical Center San Diego. (U.S. Navy photo by Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Sean Evans/Released)


And you know what is the best part in it? You will enjoy your life much more and your children will enjoy YOU much more too! You spend so much time helping them grow well and hope for the best for their future. Do you think it will help them to have an old dad or an old mum to take care of? Don’t you think it could be much fun for them, and for YOU, if they have younger parents?

We all agree that our children have to become LIFE LONG LEARNERS. Everything evolve much faster than when you and I were kids. Many fields, especially technological ones, change in much less than a year. To keep adding value in what our kids will do, they will have to learn new things continuously. So do we, parents.


Some of you are probably thinking “What? I have to learn new things every month or even every week or day??? Come on, I am not a student anymore. I am too old for that…..”

Do you? Yes…… and No.

Yes, because their brains learn faster than yours.

No, because your brain is not like many of you think it is. Your brain is not fixed. Your brain is not deteriorating day after day since you became adult. Your brain is plastic. Yes, plastic! And I don’t mean, “Made of plastic”. I mean that it still can change everyday, in the good or bad way. If you use it and stimulate it very often (every day is the best) by learning new things like a student do, you can still create thousands of new connections and even new neurons.


The rule is really simple. It’s USE IT or LOSE IT! If you stimulate your brain and do regular physical and mental exercise, you will enjoy your life much more, you will enjoy your children much more AND they will enjoy YOU much more too!

Don’t worry, I will get back to that subject very soon with simple and effective tools you will be able to use in order to stay young outside and inside your head.

Enjoy Your Future, enjoy Your Life!

A special thanks to the parents we met at the Beijing Maker Faire


Dear Parents,

Thank you for coming to our booth at the Beijing Maker Faire this past weekend! It was a real pleasure to meet you. In fact, one encounter really left a deep impression on me, which I want to share with you below.

Thank you for listening to our message about how families can enjoy 3D printing. Like you, we also have young children and we want the best that life can offer them. Like you, we know there is so much technology available now and so we need to find a way to use it wisely.


As one of you so articulately noted, passively watching endless hours of on-line videos is not the best way to using the latest hi-tech. Instead, it’s far better to find a way to stimulate the brain while developing analytical skills. This can apply to both children and adults. 3D modeling with 3D printing is a great way to do this because you are starting from a blank platform, literally building something from nothing.


One boy spent a particularly long time at our demo station, working on model after model, even though he was new to the software. His dad hunched over next to him in the crowded and loud corridor, giving him guidance. This went on for quite some time.

When the boy finished, I managed to speak to him. He was the personification of shyness. I had to urge him to raise his voice several times just to hear his name. After they left, it struck me that the coaching the dad was providing his son was also a way to encourage his son to develop more self-confidence using 3D models as a new form of self-expression. If the boy can crack the software, maybe he can emerge from his shell. I really hope I can keep in touch with this family so I can see this boy fly.

I also hope we can all keep in touch! Thanks again for coming!

Getting Started With Project-Based Learning For Parents


-Insights from the book Invent to Learn*

Project Based Learning is a teaching method wherein students gain knowledge and skills working for an extended period of time on an activity. Students engage in an iterative process of asking questions, finding resources and applying information.

1. Choose a project that is meaningful to your child. They will invest their time, effort and creativity in something that intrigues them personally, which could be to expand on a topic from school, elaborate on a hobby or sport, or magnify a favorite book or video game. The project can be framed as solving an appropriately challenging problem.


2. Have a wide variety of materials. Sometimes all the inspiration a child needs can come from playing with materials and putting them together in their own way. For example craft materials, a pile of cups, a few pipe cleaners and some paper plates can form a new type of space ship or planet. Aim to have a sufficient quantity of building blocks and a wide variety of materials. Technology aids like tablets or laptops facilitate internet research as part of the process.

3. Allow enough time to plan, think, discuss and ask questions. The child can revisit their work over a period of time making revisions or testing different ideas. The process of revision and editing can be valuable and eye-opening.



4. Encourage them to share their work. They can show designs to family members or friends, share online or create an exhibit space in the home. They can share their process using drawings and prototypes in paper, clay or 3D printed materials. Other people can learn from and be inspired by the work, and feedback can be motivating.

Project-based learning has benefits of a greater depth of understanding of concepts, improved communication and increased creativity**. Please share your experiences with project based learning with 3D Roundhouse.

*Source: Martinez, Sylvia Libow; Stager, Gary S. (2013-05-10). Invent To Learn: Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom.

**Source: Wikipedia.