17-Year-Old Texting Champ Proves Encouraging Kids’ Talents Pays Off Big-Time

teen textingAnd all this time we've been telling our kids to put the phone down and stop texting, already! Turns out even text messaging can be a talent worth developing -- just ask 17-year-old National Texting Competition winner Austin Wierschke, who was recently awarded $50,000 for his "speed, accuracy, and dexterity" as a ... texter (is that a word?). Of course not every teen with lightning-fast thumbs is going to profit from the skill, but to me, Austin's story still serves as a powerful parental reminder: When it comes to our kids' talents, we need to put our own expectations aside and encourage them in whatever it is they're good at -- even texting.

Look at it this way: Austin's mom could have easily taken away her son's phone and forced him to go to basketball practice or chess club or tuba lessons, but instead she supported him, allowing him to enter the National Texting Competition. Now her son has the equivalent of a $50K college scholarship.


Kind of reminds me of the recent TD Ameritrade Commercial featuring Olympic gymnast Jonathan Horton. Featuring footage of Horton as a kid, it perfectly articulates exactly how and why it pays off for parents to watch, listen, and encourage kids in their most heartfelt endeavors. The voiceover script reads as follows:

When he was only 4 years old, Jonathan Horton climbed all the way to the ceiling in the middle of a department store. Some parents might have scolded him. Jonathan's parents gave him gymnastics lessons. It's amazing how far you can go with a little help along the way.

Exactly. "Negative" behaviors -- like climbing the walls in a department store -- don't have to be "negative" at all. We just have to stay open-minded and flexible as parents.

How do you encourage your teen's talents?


Image via Randy Pertiet/Flickr

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