Odyssey of the Mind is a hands-on program for kids where only the 7 minds of the team can work on the long-term solution. The basic premise is when the team members solve the problem 100% by themselves, they learn to solve challenges within their capabilities, be resourceful and they develop a tremendous amount of self-confidence. While well meaning, outside assistance subtly tells kids they are not capable of doing it themselves. When the Team’s solution is the Team’s idea, their design, their work, their performance, and their score, they are much more likely to develop 21st century skills to help them be successful now and in the future. Remember, in the end, the Team is responsible for what they do, not the coach, parents or people outside the team.
What Parents Need To Know About Outside Assistance
Even though you may mean well, providing ideas, making suggestions, even applying make-up and fixing costumes are all considered outside assistance and the team will receive a penalty. As parents, we all want the best for our kids and sometimes that means letting them figure it out on their own so the next time, they will have the confidence to solve it themselves. The kids will figure it out, even if it is not the way adults would do it, more often than not, their ideas are much more creative!
A Word About Safety & Outside Assistance
We never want kid’s safety compromised due to a child wanting to use the same power tools as Mom or Dad. However, kids will often see what adults can do, such as using power tools, and will want their Mom or Dad to use the power tools for them. Keep in mind this constitutes Outside Assistance and the team will likely receive a penalty. So what is a parent or coach to do? The key is asking the right questions such as, “What other materials can you use? How else can you build it?” to help them learn to resourceful within their abilities.