Give a Child a Sense of Pride by Training a Growth Mindset

by Ann Lee

All of you would remember them. They were the ones sitting by themselves in the cafeteria with hair covering their face, a hat or sometimes a hood pulled up over their head. They didn’t speak much and were painfully “shy”. If they weren’t bullied, they were simply the non-entity in the room. Going through twelve years of school, they didn’t want anything to do with it. Some of them were actually quite bright, but they didn’t believe it themselves. These students we all remember typically had a common trait – a fixed mindset.

According to Carol Dwek’s seminal work a student with a fixed mindset would exhibit the exact opposite characteristics of what top performing students would exhibit. The students with a fixed mindset would be much more likely to:

avoid challenges
become defensive and give up easily
see effort as pointless or worse their success is outside of their control
ignore useful negative feedback
feel threatened by others success
As you can imagine, because of these traits, students with a fixed mindset tend to achieve less than their full potential. According to Dwek, the opposite of a fixed mindset is a growth mindset. If you think about high achievers in any area of life, it is clear they must have a growth mindset. How can all of us who have children or work with children help ensure they develop the all-important growth mindset?

I was struck by this quote from Charles Barnard on his website, “If you knew a person who was patient, kind, not envious, not boastful, not proud, not dishonoring of others, not self-seeking, not easily angered, doesn’t keep record of being wronged, is protecting, trusting, hopeful, and perseverant you would want to be around that person, wouldn’t you. You would want to associate with them, wouldn’t you.” Of course I would. His premise and the stated purpose of his web pages and courses is that creating a mindset of love is the foundation upon which all our success and happiness must be built.

My initial reaction was yea, but… As I began to internalize more and more what he was arguing on his pages, it began to sink in and I found myself thinking about how I could incorporate this mindset in myself let alone any child I would be entrusted to help. I consider myself to be all of those things as am sure many of you do too, yet couldn’t I be all of those things more consistently or to a greater degree? Of course, can’t we all and therein I think lies his point. We need to focus on those traits, train them, and constantly reinforce them. It really does require training. I began to think that is what Christians mean by maturing in Christ. Christ is their ultimate model so they are training their mindset to be like him and the more they do that the more mature they become. It makes sense. It is a powerful idea.

The Growth Mindset Training Academy’s web page has information on training a mindset in the different parts of what it refers to as the “mindset of a champion arch.” Love is the foundation that the arch is built on. Your mindset does encompass much more. There is information on those pages about building a mindset of faith, faithfulness, a family mindset, a mindset of friendships, a mindset on learning, a mindset on health, a spirit of a champion, and a millionaire’s mindset. There seems to be some obvious over-lapping of ideas, but overall there is a great deal of valuable information and lots of information regarding his online mindset training academy.

For all of you homeschooling your children or being active in the education of your children in other ways remember those students from your past who were the “non-entities” of your school. Understand how important it is to be sure those young adults in your life develop a growth mindset. I will leave you with the lines from the song, “Greatest Love of All”:

I believe the children are our future
Teach them well and let them lead the way
Show them all the beauty they possess inside
Give them a sense of pride

Maybe we should give them a sense of pride by training their mindset.

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