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Watching Master Chef Junior Teaches Me How To Be a Better Person

Six life lessons these young contestants are teaching us by following their passion.

This is contestant Matthew who took direction from Gordon Ramsey when his team of two were behind in a team challenge. Gordon Ramsey told him “Get it together – You are way behind!” and Matthew first cried from frustration but then did just that, right after this still shot. He took a deep breath, clapped his hands once and started yelling constructive cheers to his teammate along with direction on what she should do next. I was so impressed with his resolve that it motivated me to write this story.

I am a self confessed foodie that loves to watch cooking shows for the excitement and awesome recipes. But there is one show that takes the experience to another level and it’s because it involves young Chef prodigies who show, over time, how their resolve, strength and ability to overcome setbacks, is more advanced that most of us adults. These young girls and boys, from 8 to 12, display a strength well beyond their years.

Here are 6 examples of how they can teach all of us a thing or two about how to be better people in this world.

1. Crying is a show of strength and passion not weakness

Matthew was faced with falling behind in a duo challenge and, he had been so invested in the show and doing well, that he started crying from an overwhelming sense of frustration. They had to trade working on a series of six tapas and his teammate wasn’t doing as good of a job as he was and he knew it. Many of us, when faced with an overwhelming sense of failure will give up. But, Matthew, even though he knew deep down that this may cost him being kicked off the show that week, clapped his hands and changed his attitude in one second. Yes! You have to watch it and it will truly inspire you to shake off any difficulty you have and move on! Check out the video

When you are faced with daily obstacles, take a moment to breath deeply and clap your hands if needed, but make sure to shake off the pity party quickly and move on. I am not talking about huge problems but the daily issues that shake your resolve so much the entire day changes direction. Matthew did get kicked off but he knows that he did his very best and was a positive example to all of us watching.

2. How to work together as a team

The kids on this show have to do several team challenges and in the beginning of the season, there can be upwards of 10 of them on one team. There is always a team captain chosen and, remember these are kids from 8-12 years old, who will then have to lead a team to cook for a large amount of people who will judge their food. To them, it is a matter of staying or leaving the show.

Most of them, after stumbling with under or over cooking the main protein in the meal, will restart their group with a motivating speech and then a high level of focus. They listen to the mentors describe what they were doing wrong and pull it together but it is the captain that displays the true character of keeping their cool and directing each member to do the task they were best suited for. Of course, there are teams that lose the challenge, and ultimately one or two of the members go home. But, as the exit interviews show, each child that leaves promises not to give up their dream of becoming a Chef and owning their own restaurant. They also admit to their downfall and vow to learn from their mistakes. Check out this team challenge episode

3. When you fall behind, be positive and keep your cool, while finding alternate solutions

Reid, 8 year old from Georgia, came in as the “grilling king”. But on Episode 7 he was faced with a chicken grilling challenge that had him grilling for about 100 kids and his skills were not working well after getting super tired and hot from the work. Christina Tosi leaned down to talk to Reid and reminded him that it wasn’t over and he could work with the others to get the chicken off the grill and cooked to perfection in the oven.

Reid stopped crying and turned his attitude around to continue his work and lead his Red team on to win the challenge. Reid showed all of us that you can turn around a bad situation by keeping your cool, looking for alternate solutions, and motivating all team members by demonstrating strong leadership skills. Check out the episode

4. Nurture and honor your passion as it will make you a happy and successful person

All of these 8-12 year olds figured out very early in life that they loved to cook. They take on roles and responsibilities in their own families with cook entire meals by helping out their Mom, Dad or Grandparent. Many of them had the luxury of traveling the world already and were inspired by seasonings, herbs and recipes in other countries.

There is even one young girl, Sadie, who exclaims that she has a “refined palette” in one of the first shows. At first, we thought, what a little snot to say that when she is only 12 years old. But, as you watch her progression in the show, you realize she wasn’t kidding! She has been to France several times and is a devote follower of Julia Childs. While she may be a bit shy in other aspects of her cooking style, she demonstrates that she is completely aware of what she loves to do and intends to do it the rest of her life. Many of the kids are asked what their cooking goals are and most are well prepared to explain specific plans for a certain type of restaurant they want to own.

Honoring your passion as quickly as possible in life means you will always enjoy what you do for a living. Learn from these kids on how you can listen to your passion and keep up with it, even when life puts obstacles in your way. If you didn’t honor your passion early, then don’t let time or your age stop you from bringing that back. I am sure any of these kids, if life made them stop cooking for awhile, would return to it without question later in life.

5. Don’t let physical limitations stop you from your dreams

Many of the kids, being that they are so young, are really small and short. Just being able to reach the cooking counter means they need to stand on a booster stool. In fact, one contestant, Ivy, lives with achondroplasia, a bone growth disorder that causes disproportionate dwarfism. She has a dream to change the way restaurants treat kids and cook foods that are healthier but still appealing to kids. She doesn’t complain or view her condition as limiting her ability to advance as a Master Chef. As of right now, the season is still on and has about two shows to the Finale with Ivy still front and center on the show.

6. Honesty is the best policy

If you ever watch any competitive reality shows, you realize that lying and cheating goes on all the time. None of those contestants think about the fact that they are being video taped and we can just rewind the show to see what they actually did. It has never stopped adults, with an affinity to cheat, to refrain from that when the final prize is their motivating factor.

However, put a group of 8-12 year olds on a show and you will see a sense of honesty and integrity that many adults couldn’t hold a candle to. When asked what they did wrong, most of the kids answer with honest reflections of what they didn’t do correctly and fess up to their limitations. I am constantly surprised and then enlightened at how they are met with such respect after admitting mistakes or weaknesses on the show. They show all of us that being honest about our weaknesses doesn’t make us a failure, it makes us learn from those mistakes so we can become a better person and live a better life.

I am happy to be learning from such a wonderful group of young kids on this show. It really gives me a sense of hope that children in our country are being raised with such a strong, resolute, and intelligent attitude about what they can accomplish in life. They are moving ahead with following their passion and we should all be so lucky to be doing the same. It may be just a TV Reality Show (on Fox) but it is truly a lesson in following your bliss, treating everyone with respect and never giving up no matter what obstacles you meet on your path.

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