Coding Catches Fire

Last week, my child stayed up late, past her bedtime, in order to write a detailed note that she left on my desk. (The note is the main picture for this post.)

The note is a list of her coding ideas. As I blogged a couple of weeks ago (Girls and Coding), I've come to realize that my daughter's passion with coding concerns UI.

Of the 12 ideas in her note, half of them concern modifying the small python script we've been building over the last year or so. It's exciting for me that she is now "driving the bus" on what we do next in our coding "class".

Another thing that delighted me concerns the other 6 of her ideas. They will require changes to my own python libraries that I've been developing to help me with our Custom Data Mining service.

Her ideas will improve the UI of those libraries. In the Girls and Coding post, I wrote:

After last Thursday, I realized that the best, initial coding role for my child is UI. Now, I don't give a rip about UI. UI is something I do only because I have to — not because I love it. But, my child loves it.

Moreover, UI is the gateway to making my code usable by anyone other than myself. In my various coding projects, I need to generate compiled, complete versions of code that can run like stand-alone applications on the Windows and Mac computers of our clients.

To do so, I need to spice up the UI. I'm going to love working with my child on this.

To my delight, I don't even have to ask her for her help because this is what she wants to do anyway. Not because it would help me, but because it will further her own passion.

Over the past few years, I've been mulling over a theory about how people develop excellence. The easiest way, I believe, is to recognize your child's talents, and foster and nurture those talents and their passions when they are kids.

If children develop passion for an activity before puberty, then they will be motivated to spend some of that extreme, hormone-fueled energy of puberty on pursuing that passion. This, I believe, is one way how we become experts.

With this theory in mind, I've been looking for signs of self-motivated passion in my child. There are several areas in her life where — thanks to her mom — this fire, or self-driven joyful interest, has already been lit. These areas include art, horseback riding, writing, and sewing.

I'm happy that "coding" can be added to the list now.