We often think of peer pressure as only negative. But our children are powerfully influenced by friends and associates in positive and motivational ways, too. Research shows that one of the best ways to steer your teen in the right direction is to make sure they are in the company of other teens going in the right direction. We parents don't need research to tell us that. Yet, we also know that this is no easy task for a parent during the adolescent years when often the very last thing your kid wants is his parents picking his friends!
Still there are ways we parents can help our children make sound choices and also ways we can influence the people that surround our children as they mature. In order to successfully connect your kids to other young achievers who are doing good things, a parent has to be clever, strategic and perhaps a little coercive. We must keep our ears to the ground in order to hear of youth events and engagements that are worthy of our children and also interesting to them.
The good news for Houston teens is… TEDxYouth Houston 2013.
You may already know about TEDx, the local independently organized version of TED Talks. TED is the nonprofit organization devoted to providing a platform for leading thinkers and doers who have “ideas worth spreading.” The talks are 18 minutes and shared for free at TED.com.
The TED and TEDx talks are engaging and informative. But more than that, they are designed and chosen to spark discussion and change. So applying the concept to (and for) youth, TEDxYouth events celebrate the voice and vision of young thinkers and doers. Houston’s Neighborhood Centers Inc. is curating this year’s TEDxYouth@Houston. Appropriately themed “The Spark,” this one-day event will take place on Saturday, November 16, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm at the Asia Society Texas Center.
According to organizer Carlos Paz, Jr., "TEDxYouth@Houston’s goal by joining hundreds of other TEDxYouth events throughout the nation, is to create an annual forum which brings high school and middle school students from the Greater Houston area into the TEDx movement." This year, TEDxYouth@Houston will feature a group of 17 youth and adult speakers and performers coming together to educate, inspire and ignite the spark of young people from every part of the City.
The young folk chosen as speakers this year are a diverse group of impressive people. On stage, you will find:
- Teenage Social Entrepreneurs: One speaker founded a kid-led nonprofit that in three years has grown from impacting the lives of 50 to 600 students in local schools. Another young person created a project that connects cultures around the world with children’s books.
- Disruptors: An activist will explain why studying our cultural heritage and histories makes all the difference for young people. And a former social studies teacher has made his life's work designing schools around students, technology, and gaming.
- Local Artists: MetaFour Houston and two adult poets will illustrate the power of the literature and the spoken word. A world-travelled graffiti artist will explain how graffiti art installations can revitalize the way Houston sees it’s overlooked and abandoned public/private walls.
TEDxYouth talks have that magical combination of wildly popular, hip multimedia pizzazz and the simple live connection of one person with a powerful message. The format feels at the same time both communal and one-on-one, and it keeps kids right in the moment-- taking in all of the can-do and why-not-me energy. You, as a parent, may be tempted to stay and be inspired yourself... but make sure you ask your teen if that would be okay!
For registration, go HERE. Seats are limited.