I then shared with you the article (and video) by Salman Khan that talks about learning and Growth Mindset (here).
Khan states: “Researchers have known for some time that the brain is like a muscle; that the more you use it the more it grows. They’ve found that neural connections form and deepen most when we make mistakes doing difficult tasks rather than repeatedly having success with easy ones. What this means is that our intelligence is not fixed: and the best way that we can grow our intelligence is to embrace tasks where we might struggle and fail”.
Hmmm… Sounds like a really great reason to be saying “in this house, we do hard things.”
And even though we (Rob and I) are hated, and attacked, and disrespected because of that, ( by some people) I am sooooo happy that THAT is the approach we are taking.
And we are NOT changing that.
It’s funny how when you are questioning something in your mind – especially related to your kids – worrying if you are doing the right thing, wondering if the attack being made on you is justified, considering just walking away and saying, “Ok, have it your way. Don’t do anything that isn’t “you”, only do things within your comfort zone, and brush everything off saying ‘it’s not going to make it break you'”, that all of a sudden you are exposed to articles, videos, lectures/sermons, conversations and promptings that deal EXACTLY with what you are struggling with! I sat in a class on Sunday and they even read a scripture that seemed to be screaming at me the confirmation of what we are doing was the right way for us to be raising our kids.
As I told this one child of mine in particular, as parents, we will make mistakes. Many mistakes. And one day, in 10++years, (or preferably when they are parents so they can be coming from the sane reference point) they may turn around and say, “it was a mistake for you to make me do XYZ”.
Don’t make that mistake with your kid.
But I would prefer to be accused of making a mistake in doing, or pushing, or providing opportunities, than make the mistake of not pushing.
I gave the analogy that my kids are little apprentices with a tool box. My job, as their parent (and YES, as a stepparent too… I may not have given birth to them but I have been entrusted to raise them 50% of the time and by gosh I am going to take that seriously and treat that role with the same respect, reverence, seriousness and honour that I do being a mother) is to give them tools that I think they may need in their toolbox for now AND for later. As they go through life, they can reach into their box and hopefully find a tool that can help them in every situation. Some may not be helpful to them down the road. But that’s ok! Don’t use it! Pick another! Hopefully we will have given them many options, and many tools. And hopefully a few tools will be ones that they can count on, A LOT.
Hopefully, the coaches, teachers, leaders, aunts, uncles, siblings, friend’s parents, and their other parents have also given them tools along the way. And hopefully, they will have collected some through their own experiences (of doing hard things!)
I want their box to be full. Full of choices and options and guidance.
This, opposed to leaving their box empty. Telling them they don’t need tools, or taking out the tools that others have put in….
The tools that go in the box however, often come from “doing hard things“. Doing hard things supports the growth mindset, which I totally buy in to.
The growth mindset, leads to GRIT.
And GRIT is what my favourite word is right now.
I want my kids to be as gritty as they can be.
I want to be as gritty as I can be.
When the towel falls in, I want them jumping in to get it!
When they make a mistake, I want them trying again, telling themselves that they are growing.
When they are out of their comfort zone, I want them squirming, but staying, knowing they are pushing their limits and will be better for it.
I want them to know when I push them, it’s because I truly believe that they can fly and then see the world from a whole new perspective and have more worlds opened up to them.
So, I think I’ll keep the word GRIT around for awhile, even if my kids get sick of hearing it. And I think I will keep repeating, “In our house, we do hard things”, even if I get accused of being that wicked witch. It’s so worth it.
I’m going to stay gritty with my parenting:)