"It's like we’ve lost that complete joy and that sense of discovery that kids, they’ve got it. They understand it."
Molly Conole is a conduit. A connection between the wonder of youth and the wisdom of age. She believes as adults we lose our sense of wonder. She says kids are key to getting it back. She’s created a children’s television show, Miss Mola’s Make-Ola!, designed to light the spark of creativity, an area in which she believes schools fall short.
"The system itself is oppressive to instilling that passion for learning. There’s a lot of emphasis on tests and again, that straight and narrow path to learning this in this amount of time. There’s a lot of pressure and kids feel that. And if they don’t achieve it in the way it was told to them. They don’t have time to enjoy the process of learning itself and that’s, I’m really passionate about instilling a passion for lifelong learning in anything."
She knows it works with young minds, but she doesn’t stop there. She believes it can do just as much for anyone else!
"I feel it more acutely that I need to get this message out to people because it is so important. You should never stop learning things and never stop investigating. There are so many cool things out there to try and do and achieve and go for. And each one of us was given a certain set of amazing abilities and talents that we can discover at any time in our life and grow those things and watch them blossom. And you never know where it’s going to lead. You never know that some little thing that you enjoy doing is going to lead you into this amazing new garden of potential as it were."
In fact, some consider her the Queen of Reinvention!
"I’ve reinvented myself a million times. I’ve been a theater performer, a musician, a composer, a singer, an artsy-craftsy person my whole entire life constantly doing neat project in every kind of medium, you might not know I was a woodworking major in college. Laughs. Amongst other things."
She even made an appearance in a major motion picture!
"Yes! You mean you didn’t recognize me at first from that? My starring role in Jaws? Yes I am in the band on the beach. Yes I am."
She’s even won awards for her lullaby albums.
"You’ve got to be able to cope with what life gives you. It’s not always and is it ever really what we’ve planned? No. It really never is. So what we’ve got to do is figure out how is this part of the journey that’s always going to leave you, how can we enjoy that part of the ride and find the discovery there that could be even better than we thought this path was. That’s what I think it’s all about."
Yet, she is at an age now where society generally says she's on the downside of life and it's time to start winding down.
"Winding down or settling down. And for someone like me who has had so many different professions, sometimes I get the, okay, isn’t it about time we pick one? And pick the something, the path to do. And I guess that’s what I love about what I’m doing now with my show. It brings so many things together. It’s kind of like the hub of a wheel where I can take the talents that I’ve had and experiences I’ve earned in the acting profession and my singing, I have original songs and cool things in my show and my love of children and my love of teaching. All of these things kind of come together in a really neat way that is a center of energy and radiates out. It’s very cool."
It’s a lesson she learned way back as a child, in a very painful way.
"My family is a separated family. There was a divorce when I was young. I got messages from two sides of my family of different ways of being. On the one side was my mom who was so incredibly creative and allowed me the time and space to make these amazing discoveries."
And then there was her father, who believed the way to live was to put in long hard hours.
"My dad passed away just a couple years ago and that’s so affected me because here’s a guy, and I’m going to get choked up now, but here’s a guy who devoted his whole life to going the straight and narrow, and when it comes right down to it I don’t know how much that really accomplished, you know what I mean? Or how much he had to show for all that effort."
He had always insisted that Molly toughen up, that she pick a path for her life and stick to it. It created some wounds that didn’t heal until he finally sat in the audience and saw his daughter perform.
"He was blown away! He was really moved. He had tears in his eyes. He was like, I get her, I understand that this is her mission, that she touches people in a way that is powerful and this is her gift and I need to support her in that and he really did and that was really a blessing."
What she's actually teaching is what life can be like, if we allow it.
"Absolutely, and that’s part of it, as you say, if we let it. And part of that is taking time to breathe, to be together as a family, to discover things, to not think we always have to teach our kids but let them discover things. Just that small little difference in providing them with an interesting pile of materials instead of having a plan as a teacher, here’s what we’re going to do with these materials, no. Take a hands off approach. Let them see what they’re doing. I guarantee you’ll be wowed way more than if you came in with a plan. It’s what I do and wow, absolutely. It works."
She says some people do occasionally tell her it's time to settle on a path.
"Absolutely! I ‘ve had that quite a few times and the raised eyebrow like, okay, you’re doing what now? Weren’t you just doing that? And when are you going to settle down grow up as it were, and get a real job. Shouldn’t you just go work in an office? They don’t get it that I’ve been there, done that many, many times, and life is too short."
So it seems the greatest lesson Miss Mola has to offer is really not just for the kids at all! What would she like to teach adults?
"Well to be more like kids, to take that time to enjoy the ride, to enjoy the freedom of discovery. Just allow yourself to have that time to relax and explore. Take a walk. Loook at this amazing world we live in and just take note and see where it leads you. Because sometimes you’ll get this little message that says, you know hey, I’d really like to do that. Do it!
Want to learn more about Miss Mola's Make-Ola!? Just click here!
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