Well, it's not only true, but his astonishing story will further amaze you. How exactly do we nurture potential talent in our kids?
At three, he had his own computer to play games on. At 9, he started teaching himself computer programming. At 12, he won a prize at his first entrepreneurship hackathon. Now, at 14, he has just set up an online company.
Meet Ralph Vreman, a child prodigy who has utmost respect towards university education. “For me it’s a requirement to go to university, without it nothing is possible. I know Bill Gates is a dropout, but dropping out of school is not good,” he said, according to this report.
While most everyone, including myself, raises an eyebrow as soon as they see a child fiddle around with an iPad or computer, in Ralph’s case, it helped him. Speaking about this unlikely gift that he gave to his son at 3, Ralph’s father Andre says, "He was really interested in the structure of the computer from when he was 3, even before he could read, he could operate this system."
Apparently, the potential in this young lad was such that he started teaching himself computer programming when he was just nine. By 12, he had won a prize at his first entrepreneurship hackathon, which challenges competitors to create a minimum viable product, for an anti-virus software product he built from scratch. Ralph intends to study computer science, high-level maths and the basic sciences in the future.
Such focus, determination and above all, the potential to make it happen! So what did his parents do right? Or was it sheer talent that made the genius a prodigy at such a tender age? We may never know. However, if you are wondering how to nurture your child’s hidden potential, here are some tips:
- Read out aloud: Yes, reading out to children increases their curiosity, widens they perspective and makes them want to learn and know more. If your child can read on his own, it doesn’t matter. Make it a point to read out something you feel is interesting. This will help him widen his horizons, beyond his age.
- Encourage him to develop hobbies: Sometimes something that starts off as a mere hobby can shape up in unimaginable ways. Nurture his personal likes. Provide a conducive environment that helps him develop his potential.
- Get them involved in your hobbies: You don’t have to force it, but asking for help now and then, or wondering if he’d like to give you company on an odd day, may just raise his curiosity on the subject of your interest. This helps widen perspectives.
- Talk to the child. Listen to him. Let it be a dialogue. Respect what he has to say. As farfetched as it sounds, give him a listening ear. This will install confidence in the child to dare and pursue his dreams.
- Encourage storytelling. Give them a canvas for their wild imagination. Let him pen it, paint it or just narrate it. His version of the world could be the potential big-thing tomorrow.
- Let them breath. As irresistible it is to enrol your child in all possible classes, avoid over-cluttering his schedule. Let him get bored for a while. Let him sit idle. Sometimes, the best ideas come in moments of sheer boredom. And anyway, you want a genius, not a one-man-army equipped to be the Jack of all trades.
Did I skip saying, let your child be? Well, let your child be. Everyone wants a genius of a child. Let's alongside focus on raising healthy, happy and confident children.