Here’s to the Round Pegs in the Square Holes: Think Different

Although it may not be readily apparent how Steve Jobs’ “Here’s to the Crazy Ones” speech relates to babies and toddlers, I provide the link for his inspirational video for several reasons. First, and foremost, I attach it because I come from a long line of entrepreneurs and people who think differently on both my mother and father’s sides of my family. While attending my maternal grandmother’s wake and funeral in Ohio during the first half of this past week (She was 94!), I swam in a sea of aunts, uncles, cousins, and my own parents and 4 siblings, most of whom have have lived their lives the way that Jobs references in his speech. I see the qualities Jobs’ eloquently speaks of in my immediate and extended family as well as in my own 5 children and their father.  I also see them in so many other children and grown-ups I come across in my work as a speech therapist and in my daily life.  Jobs reminds me that it’s OK to be the round peg in the square hole, to be the misfit, to be the “troublemaker,” or to be the one who sees things differently. These people or children may not be the best rule-followers, but they are full of ideas that may make the world a different and better place.

Second, I include the video in my blog because of what I heard on college tours during the second half of this past week with my oldest daughter, Calli, who is a rising senior and in the middle of applying to colleges.  The admissions officers who spoke before each of the tours at the four schools we visited emphasized how the school was looking for someone who was “different.”  According to them, all of the applicants have the grades, SAT/ACT scores, and list of extracurricular activities that are necessary to apply to an institution such as theirs.  Therefore, they must look at an applicant’s character, what kind of impact he or she has had on others or events, his or her creativity, his or her engagement with the world around, his or her diversity and the differences that make him or her stand out, and his or her unique talents.  Hearing this made me feel so happy that I have encouraged Calli and her siblings from the day they were born to “be different,” to recognize and celebrate their specialness, and to be the round pegs in the square holes that they are.  It’s a reminder for me how important it is to encourage babies and toddlers to take safe risks, to be not afraid of uniqueness but to celebrate it, and to shine their lantern of consciousness on the world around them.  It’s a reminder to teach them that by seeing the world differently through their own learning, that they can make the world a better place, even if it means looking like a “crazy one” or a “rebel” who sees things differently or pauses from time to time to question rules.

Last, I include the Jobs video because I was inspired by the movie of his life, titled “Jobs,” that I saw last night.  After seeing the movie, I am even more motivated than I was before last night to push forward with my efforts to get my Operation Ready By 3 (ORB3) Infant-Toddler Curriculum into the hands of every parent and caregiver.  The ORB3, which gives parents and caregivers the words they need to use with 0-3 year olds in order to build a child’s language, emotional, social and sensory skills for school and life readiness, is revolutionary.  No other curricula, pediatrician, expert or program, such as Early Head Start (EHS), focuses on children’s learning for school and life readiness through words and thinking the way the ORB3 does.  But, because it is such a different approach, I have been met with many naysayers and people who would discount the ORB3, even by expert educators at EHS, an organization that claims to want to provide what is best for babies’ and toddlers’ early learning to be ready for school and life.  I’ve been told by individuals and organizations that there isn’t money for the ORB3 to become reality for babies and toddlers, that the idea of parents and caregivers taking time to pay attention to the detailed skills being developed in the ORB3 is unrealistic, and that the ORB3 is simply “too difficult” for parents and caregivers to put into place on a daily basis, even though others have used the ORB3 with great success and ease.   These were some of the same arguments against Jobs’ ideas for the personal computer and the products he wanted to give to consumers:  too costly, too difficult, not what the consumer wants or needs, too impossible to make it happen.  However, after seeing “Jobs,”  I believe more than ever in the limitless possibilities of an impossible idea, about the importance of standing by one’s beliefs about what can make the world a better place,  in the need to change things that aren’t working, and in the need to push the human race forward.  I, along with Steve Jobs and so many others, am crazy enough to think I can change the world with the ORB3 Infant-Toddler Curriculum, and hope I will be counted as one of those who do.

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