Behind the Scenes: Life Lessons through Making

Gabriel will often hand a kid a drill and ask him or her to discover how it works on their own. He does this for a specific reason: to teach them skills that will help them throughout their lives.

For Gabriel, his role as an educator isn’t only about teaching kids how to solder and drill and make physical creations. It’s about teaching kids valuable life lessons, using maker skills as an outlet. “In this field of making,” he says, “it’s about developing great human character strengths. There’s bravery, there’s courage, there’s communication, there’s recovery after failure, collaboration, empathy. That’s what I really hope that this is all teaching.”

Courage in learning to drill? Gabriel says yes: all of these things are vital elements that kids need to learn – not only for making things, but for life itself. “This is just like life,” Gabriel explains. “There’s not very many instructions for living. You have to figure it out for yourself, practicing to do that.”

Gabriel sees his work with KID Museum as an opportunity to inspire kids to become powerful and self-motivated. Through the experience of exploring for themselves in a supervised environment, kids discover how to think creatively, cooperate with others and face the unknown. But most importantly, they learn how to handle failure and become stronger from it.

“Failure is an integral part of creating anything,” he says. “Learning to walk, learning to skateboard – you gotta fall, you gotta fail. Along with that is humility, and sharing information. I see that as really what my heart’s about here. It’s to be able to introduce these big human character traits and encourage them when I see them in kids, and provide a place that is teaching that.”

Cathy Baker