Last July, 9-year-old Medina, Ohio student Lenny Aydemir received a special gift from his uncle -- a set of World War II dog tags. The uncle, who lives in France, hadn't been able to find the owner for over two decades and decided to give them to his nephew. But where a grownup failed, a small child miraculously came through because of two simple traits: curiosity and determination.
Lenny was so intrigued by the war relics, he picked up the search and discovered that Jack B. Robbins from Wichita Falls, Texas was a fighter pilot who lost the tags in France when his plane was shot down in 1944. He survived but was never reunited with his tags. Lenny was sad to learn that the heroic vet died in 1969, but that didn't squash his interest. He then spent months trying to learn everything he could about the pilot.
The little boy even reached out to a historian, who had been researching Robbins and other WWII pilots. Together, they came up with a presentation about everything they learned to give to Robbins' family -- all of whom flew in for a special Veterans Day ceremony at Lenny's elementary school.
It's a special celebration for Lenny's family too. Natives of France, they are especially grateful for the US contributions during the war. "When you imagine that American people came to help France and now my son tried to do something to thank the family," his mother said.
She's not the only one in awe of what her son has done. Lenny is doing what I wish more kids would: Letting their curiosity and wonder lead them on a fantastic adventure. No video games, no cool apps. Just his natural curiosity. And in return, helping a family in a very special way. These are the kinds of projects we should encourage our kids to do -- really exercise their brains and sense of compassion. What a fantastic role model for all of our kids.
Watch more about Lenny's research here:
What activities do your kids do that don't involve video games or apps?