I believe we underestimate children. By we I mean teachers, parents, and our society.
I believe there are two main things we can do to change this. One, we can say yes to children. For the majority of adults the quick, gut response to any request from a child is no. If we would take just a brief moment to consider why we are saying no we might, quite frequently, realize there is no good reason not to say yes. The second thing we can do is to give kids control. The normal relationship between a child and an adult is one of power (at least that is a piece of the relationship). The adult has all of it. Giving the child some control goes against the standard and is, therefore, difficult. It's worth it.
I believe saying yes and giving kids control benefits all of us. Imagine a job at which your every request is turned down and you have no power over how your time or energies are spent. Would you put forth a lot of effort? Would you try your best? I doubt it. Now, imagine the opposite, your ideas and suggestions are respected and encouraged, you are trusted to try new things and spend your time well. That is an environment that encourages people to give it their all.
I believe that these small steps encourage students to be responsible and creative, and fosters leadership skills. Students with these qualities can succeed beyond our wildest expectations and grow into adults who will fly.