How a 10 year old built her confidence and resilience
Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard.
This is pinned up on the wall at Ziz’s soccer club.
Interview with Xiana (10) and Kelly Ludwig
Kelly Ludwig watched her daughter, Xiana’s resilience grow with each challenge.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing though.
There were tears and anxiety, but Xiana persevered to her credit. The result was not only a beautiful example of self expression in words and pictures, but a new found confidence with a tool that she can use to solve her own problems with originality and meaning for the rest of her life.
Xiana Ludwig (everyone calls her Ziz) is 10 years old and in year 5 at a state school in Brisbane, Australia.
She participated in our 5 Day Creative Challenge in 2020 as a result of her grandma telling her mum, Kelly Ludwig about it. Kelly thought it would be a good idea for Ziz to do over the school holidays. She says her mum always says it’s important to be creative and Ziz loves doing creative things like drawing in addition to completing a good challenge.
I asked her a few questions about her experience with us and of course about her likes and loves. This is what she had to say about what is in store for her next.
How did you find the Challenge?
Would you have described yourself as creative before the challenge
Yes but I usually I do whatever I want and what I’m good at. This was different and I wasn’t used to thinking and being creative in this way.
Is being creative something you enjoy?
Yeah, because it’s fun and I like using my imagination
How did you feel coming into the challenge?
Curious of what it was going to be like, excited to create and a little nervous about how it was going to go.
What part of the challenge did you enjoy most?
The create stage. When the idea finally popped into my head I was excited to get started on it. I also enjoyed creating while listening to music.
What did you learn?
Did your parent/s support you through the challenge? If yes, in what way?
My mum supported me by reminding me that the idea doesn’t just come to you straight away and teaching me how to write and edit the paragraphs better. She also helped me during the saturate stage by talking about the words with me and helping me to think about what they really meant.
What was one thing you learnt about yourself during the process that surprised you?
There were lots of times that I felt like I couldn’t do it, that I wouldn’t come up with an idea. I got really upset about it. But in the end I always did come up with an idea and that made me believe in myself more for the next challenge.
Do you think about creativity differently now? If so, how?
I think about the process a lot more now. Before I would just create. I found out that if I go through the process I create something better because I think about it more.
Do you think you are more likely to seize an opportunity now, if it felt like it was the right one?
Yes because I feel like the things that I learnt from this challenge could be used in other challenges. So it makes me feel more confident to try.
How would you know if it felt right?
I don’t really know, I just get kind of a feeling that it’s right. If I have that feeling I will go for it, because I don’t want to miss an opportunity that could be great.
What do you love doing?
What subjects do you do at school and which are your favourites?
I do English, Science, Maths, History, Japanese, HPE, Art, Music and Instrumental Music (that’s playing saxophone in the senior band). My favourites are instrumental music, H.P.E and English.
Are your favourites the ones you are naturally good at?
What do you enjoy doing when you have a bit of spare time?
Watching some TV, watercolour painting, drawing comics, reading, playing soccer and going across the road to practice some soccer with my mum.
You are in your middle years at school, and lots of time to think about this but have you thought about what you love doing?
I love playing soccer and I love writing, drawing comics and making up stories.
Where have you found your inspiration for who you want to be?
I don’t really know who I want to be. I definitely know that I want to be a good person and not a criminal because I don’t want to eat slugs (I had a dream once that I was in jail and I had to eat slugs.) Nobody wants that!
I have been reading Raina Telgemeier’s books and she has inspired me to join senior writer’s group this year. I also watch famous soccer players like Mohammed Salah and Sammy Kerr and I’d love to be a soccer player like them one day.
What do you think is needed for anyone to succeed at what they love doing?
They need to practice it a lot, work hard and love it.
What are two cool things your parents have taught you?
My mum taught how important it is to practice, eat healthy and use my manners. My dad taught me this too but also how to do some cool soccer tricks and play video games.
When do you think your mum and dad are most proud of you?
When I try my best and work hard or learn and try something new.
Name something in the last year you have learned about yourself?
I’m getting better at uncertain situations. I also learnt that I don’t edit my work very well – my report cards and this challenge taught me that.
Further insight from her mother, Kelly Ludwig
What was it about the Challenge that attracted you?
I think the importance of being creative isn’t encouraged nearly enough in the education system. Perhaps it’s because they don’t know how to be creative themselves or how to teach it or the process behind it.
I’m not sure. But look at business today, innovation is a key strategy to both surviving and thriving. You need to think creatively about a problem in order to solve it and differentiate yourself from your competitors.
And then there’s the personal development and fulfilment that comes from it too. I figured out the importance of creativity in my 20s but I really wanted my daughter to embrace it much earlier. So naturally when I saw this opportunity I was incredibly excited about it. It was also very affordable and a well timed for the school holidays.
What did you hope Xiana would gain from the experience?
She would feel more confident about engaging her creativity on a regular basis whether it be for problem solving, self expression or fun.
What do you think she did gain from it?
I’ve watched her resilience grow with each challenge. Sometimes she really struggled to come up with an idea for a challenge and this stressed her out. It would have been much easier for her to give up. Instead she persevered and became well acquainted with an effective process that allows her to engage her creativity where and whenever she needs.
This wasn’t immediately apparent, though. It was the culmination of completing all the course requirements and the use of the creative process for each daily challenge that helped reinforce its effectiveness. The process is learned through doing. And as far as creativity goes, I’m a big believer in, the more you use it the better you get at it.
I think it’s also given her more confidence to tackle the unfamiliar too; like she’s got a secret weapon in her back pocket she can pull out to solve a problem.
Funny enough, words like saturate and percolate have become household terms now; evidence of how much comfort and familiarity our family now has with the creative process.
What did you gain from the process?
I’ve been involved in communications for a long time and I was astounded to see the creative process articulated like this. It’s spot on and it works! I’ve always had a process of my own that I’d follow when delivering creative projects. Seeing Jane’s process was validation for me; she gave me self awareness and insight into why I do what I do.
It’s so cool, because I can now see the importance of every step in order to maximise my chances of producing the optimum result. While it’s ok to fast track the process if time is short, it’s not ok to skip a step; they are all necessary.
From a parenting perspective it tightened the bond that I have with my daughter. It was a difficult challenge for both of us, for her actually delivering it and me being able to support her through the emotional roller coaster of doubt, fear and anxiety she experienced throughout. It was like 3 years of life-learning compressed into 5 days.
Strangely, it seems to have opened up a fluid conduit of conversation about virtually everything. I feel as though she’s more comfortable talking through obstacles with me now whether its on the soccer field or in the classroom, she knows I’ve got her back and I’ll support her every way I can, but she also knows that it’s ultimately up to her and I can’t/won’t do it for her.
I am continuing to reinforce the creative process with her as I don’t want it to be a one-hit wonder. The more comfortable she is using it the more empowered she’ll feel to not just solve problems but solve them in a way that may not have been considered before. And that’s when things get really interesting. 🙂
Also, knowing her love language is paying dividends too. It has subtly changed how we communicate and encourage her on a daily basis. The impact has almost been instant. While she has always been a self-managed child, she seems to do everything with more purpose and determination now, as if there’s a bigger picture in sight.
She understands the importance of practice to achieve results thanks to our discussions on risk (one of the daily challenges). She knows that if she’s anxious about an event coming up, all she’ll need to do is put in the work now and that will increase her chances of success.
We’ve found ourselves asking lately, “Who is this child?”
Is it something you think other girls of Xiana’s age would benefit from? Why?
How it will benefit them will depend on the inherent strengths and weaknesses of each child. Some children may actually discover that creativity comes natural to them and the challenge lights a little fire within. Others may feel they aren’t creative but when aided with a process to follow, they can deliver. Others may benefit from the additional self awareness gained through the surveys or in pushing their minds to produce things they’ve never even dreamt or thought of before. I guess that’s what so magical about it all. You don’t know exactly what will come out of it but you do know it will be beneficial.
It would just be so cool if it were taught in schools. For example, I can see the saturation stage really fostering children’s natural curiosity and investigative mind which would in turn lead to a higher level of comprehension and retention of knowledge not to mention a better quality outcome (whether that’s a report, presentation or something more freestyle).
Now imagine children working in a group situation employing this methodology to solve a problem?! #exciting #powerful
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