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 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. 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 that 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!
Although there are limits to what you as a parent are able to do, please know that your support is absolutely invaluable to our teams. The more that teammates talk about OM at home, work on OM solutions at home, and get together at home, the more successful their team will be.
By spending quality time creating their solution, they’ll have more fun, greater confidence and be less stressed. If you look at YouTube videos or presentations on the OM website with your children, asking questions like, “How do you think they made that costume?” or “Do you remember the set we saw at….?” are great ways to get them thinking. Just remember that all ideas must come from them!