Your kids’ success begins with one small thing

shreyas It was only one small thing. Yet from that one small thing, stemmed entry into a national competition, interviews with dozens of media outlets, TEDx talks, and lots of other benefits. That one small thing seemed completely irrelevant to me; it was just a mundane activity that my classroom had to do, yet four years later I can personally tell you that small thing changed my life forever.

That one small thing was a classroom spelling bee in the 6th grade. That spelling bee transformed into me competing with the top spellers from around the world at the Scripps National Spelling Bee. This opportunity turned into several interviews with media outlets like CNN, NBC, and even newspapers from around the country. All these interviews snowballed into one TEDx talk. That one TEDx talk turned into another talk, and that TEDx talk transformed into a keynote speech in front of a thousand people. That keynote speech turned into another TEDx talk and the snowball is still rolling. All these things were caused by that one small thing that I had no initial intent on doing.

My point is not to tell you about my accomplishments, but it is to tell you how important that one small thing is. Had I not done that one small thing, the resulting sequence of events would not have happened. I would have gone through my life just going through the motions. But the thing is, everyone has these small things. If you are cognizant and aware of all those small “things,” there is no limit to what you can accomplish.

Millions of parents want to know: how does a kid succeed?

I think it all stems from that one small thing—that spelling bee, that science camp, those acting classes, etc. Finding all those small things can be made easy but finding the right one will be difficult. Luck will not favor those who force a child to do something, but rather those who allow the child to do what he/she wants.

Finding the small opportunities is becoming easier and easier, but finding the right thing can still be difficult. I was fortunate enough to strike the gold with my small opportunity, but the question that is now being asked is: how does one find the “right” small thing?

Here are the three best things to do to find the right small thing:

  1. Learn more about your child’s strengths and weaknesses
  1. Find out what your child likes and doesn’t like
  1. ASK YOUR CHILD! It could be as simple as, “What do you want to do this summer?”

The right small thing is out there for every single child, whether it is a spelling bee or something else. The world has so much to offer, and the small things are there. The only thing is that action needs to be taken. The first step is the most important, so let’s all find “our small opportunity”.




Shreyas Parab (@sparab18) is a 9th grader at Archmere Academy. He is a two-time Scripps National Spelling Bee competitor and has been the main focus on a CNN story on the spelling bee as well as in many news outlets over the country. He was a speaker at TEDx Penn State Berks campus and is the CEO of Novel Ties.




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