Little Blue Robot

By: Daphne McMenemy

It was September 2016. The shyest, kindest and most compassionate little girl walked through my door.  She followed every rule, did whatever was asked of her, every teacher’s dream student.  Life at school for her was about comfort – when she knew exactly what she needed to do, she was comfortable.  She lived in her perfect little box and never ventured outside the lines.  But just once, I wanted her to be brave enough to break rules, or at the very least question them.  I wanted her to speak up, to think for herself.  I wanted her to be passionate about something.  Whenever I asked, “But what would YOU like to do?” her answer was always the same – a little shrug, always followed by an, “I don’t know.”  And that was the problem, she honestly didn’t.  I gave her so many choices for everything we did – I was determined to prove to her that school could be so much more if only she was willing to step outside her comfort zone.  She picked the safe, predictable route, every time.  And then one day, something changed.  I put a little blue robot in her hands and said, “Go!”  But this time, she didn’t shrug, she didn’t say I don’t know.  She just said, “Okay.”  Over the course of the next few months, I watched her transform into this incredible little girl with opinions and ideas.  She began to question things for the benefit of her own learning.  She asked the important whys and hows.  She didn’t wait for an answer anymore…she started finding them on her own.  In fact, that quiet and shy, never stepped out of line 7-year-old, became the kid who stood in front of an auditorium of 200+ giving her own talk about the importance of coding and robotics and how it made her feel smart and how she learned that it was okay to make mistakes because you could just try again – her words.  All because of that little blue robot. She found her passion.