Back when school was actually in, and I was musing about if homework was actually necessary, (Ha! Little did I know!) there was a lot of talk about this idea of “growth mindset” among educators and how it influences our students and how they learn. I suppose, it really is how we all learn. In case you have no idea what I am talking about, here is the general idea:
A growth mindset, proposed by Stanford professor Carol Dweck in her book Mindset, describes people who believe that their success depends on time and effort. People with a growth mindset feel their skills and intelligence can be improved with effort and persistence. They embrace challenges, persist through obstacles, learn from criticism and seek out inspiration in others’ success.
Those who hold a growth mindset believe that they can get better at something by dedication of time, effort and energy. Working on one’s flaws, and the process—not the outcome—are the most important components. With time and practice, people with a growth mindset believe they can achieve what they want. The opposite of a growth mindset is a fixed mindset.From: https://tophat.com/glossary/g/growth-mindset/
There is some confuddled methodologies and thought processes surrounding this whole idea — but it is what I have been musing about this week. “Growth”. I’ve been thinking about literal growth — changes you can physically see, as well as the more mystical, unseen growth, that we all do as people when faced with situations like this global pandemic we are all experiencing right now. Three weeks in, and people are starting to talk about the consequences. I’m curious to see how this will change us. Will it change us for the better? Or will we revolt and protest? Only time will tell. Speaking of time; it is finally starting to be “spring-like” around here and, like I have said so many times before, time has a way of moving forward… worldwide pandemic or not. The buds are starting to show up on the trees. We have started our little seeds and the kids have cleaned up the backyard garden (hurray for quarantine — we are ahead this year!) and we are dreaming about fresh veggies! We also fostered some baby ducklings for 3 weeks — which was definitely a growth project! Those tiny things grew fast! I’m not sure I am cut out for farming — as much as this city girl dreams about it, (constantly) it would certainly take some “growing” on my part. Perhaps these cuties will be a topic for a future muse.
Which brings me back to my muse. I think growth is a unique entity. We have “growth spurts” and we have long, slow, lengthy times of maturing that seemingly takes forever. It’s hard to see growth in those times. We think that nothing new is happening. Like a young tween waiting to get curves or the first facial hair. Often, those are times of renewal and recovery (or perhaps discovery?) — so that all the conditions are right for good growth. It’s been a month of ups and downs for the Mitton crew during lockdown 2020. I get excited about a new project or homeschool, and just as quickly get sad and frustrated. Some days I dream big, and other days I can’t seem to get moving at all. They tell me that’s normal. It seems we are in a season of growth.
So as I navigate this time, I’ve been encouraged by the words of Lamentations 3. Verses 22 and 23 are the most famous, of course, and the most uplifting when it comes to sparking Hope and Encouragement:
But it is interesting to note that the full chapter is a lament. It’s not that encouraging. It’s full of despair and depression. Then the writer comes to the realization of God’s ancient idea of a growth mindset. Each morning is a new day. And God’s love is faithful. It’s a process, with ebbs and flows of good and bad. A journey with a goal, where success is measured by time, effort and persistence. And failure is part of the process.
So, what about you all? Are you feeling stuck in the lament? Are you wallowing in the darkness of unemployment, uncertainty or just simple boredom? Tomorrow is a new day. Filled with new doses of mercy, light and hope from a God whose faithfulness is timeless. May you be encouraged, my friend, by the journey itself. Your successes will be achieved through time, effort and tiny steps forward. Oh… I am certainly not there either. My mind dreams big, but the flesh is weak, and laziness, to be truthful, is a whole lot easier. Share me some love, okay? Post a thought, some encouragement, or something you’re doing to make this season of “slow growth” helpful for all of us! I love to hear your comments.