Grateful for Growth Mindset

Topics: Education Policy, ESSA

Last week, my husband and I participated in our first parent-teacher conference at our son’s new school. We were eager to hear how our second grader is doing in his new environment and learn ways we can help our child and support his teachers.

In our discussion, we learned about Eli’s progress in reading, writing and math, and the friendships he’s making. But what grabbed my attention the most was what we learned about Eli’s social-emotional development. I learned that he often “psyches himself out,” and tells his teachers that he can’t do something before even trying the work. But once he actually tries, he is fully capable of completing the task.

While this concerned me, I’m thankful for having the opportunity to help my child grow beyond this. I’m grateful that I’ve learned about the importance of growth mindset from my work at KnowledgeWorks and that this knowledge will help me in daily conversations at home.

And I’m thankful that my son’s teachers are focused on helping him develop this critical social-emotional skill from a very early age. They even worked this important, timely message into the second-grade reading at the school’s Thanksgiving celebration, when each child recited a line from this poem:

Be Thankful, Author Unknown

Be thankful that you don’t already have everything you desire. If you did, what would there be to look forward to?
Be thankful when you don’t know something. For it gives you the opportunity to learn.
Be thankful for the difficult times. During those times, you grow.
Be thankful for your limitations. Because they give you opportunities for improvement.
Be thankful for each new challenge. Because it will build your strength and character.
Be thankful for your mistakes. They will teach you valuable lessons.
Be thankful when you’re tired and weary. Because it means you’ve made a difference.
It is easy to be thankful for the good things. A life of rich fulfillment comes to those who are also thankful for the setbacks.
Gratitude can turn a negative into a positive.
Find a way to be thankful for your troubles and they can become your blessings.

Even as an adult, this is a powerful reminder of what we can do when we work through our challenges rather than giving up.