It's pretty easy to get bogged down with all the bad news in the world. Because there's a lot of bad news these days.
On a good day, the bad news can act like a catalyst to do something. To change something. To make a difference in some way.
On a not so good day, it can just feel depressing. And overwhelming. And sort of impossible to swim out from under it all.
Why is that? Why is it that some days it feels like it's possible to change the world, and other days, it's a hopeless case?
Carol Dweck coined the terms "growth mindset" and "fixed mindset." Having a growth mindset allows us to believe that with effort, we can improve. With effort, we can change and grow. And conversely, with a fixed mindset, we don't believe that change is possible; we are sort of stuck where we are in learning new skills, facing challenge, or any progress in general. She explains these concepts in this TedTalk:
When applying these concepts to life, they can make these big changes that we're dealing with less insurmountable. Carol Dweck authored the book Mindset, which is an enlightening read on the research and application of growth mindset.
Helping children develop a growth mindset is an invaluable tool right now. A couple of years ago, we tried out resources from Big Life Journal. It's a wonderful company that takes the concept of growth mindset, and makes it accessible to and approachable with children. Through journaling, activities, games, music, movies, and more, building and keeping a growth mindset becomes possible. Using these practical guides allow children (and adults!) to learn about and practice using a growth mindset, which is the most important part.
One of the best parts of Big Life Journal is how it covers the importance of the words we use. By developing a robust growth mindset vocabulary and using phrases and questions that encourage growth, we can help children create that positive internal dialogue when faced with struggles. Understanding how our language plays such a big role in the way we approach things and the way we address challenges makes such a difference! Learning that, by simply adding the word "yet" to "I can't," makes anything possible.
We're being faced with a lot of change and challenge right now. Children all over the world are being expected to jump into a new version of learning, whether that's virtual, in-person with new restrictions in place, or homeschooling... just to name a few. Parents are being expected to work from home, navigate these new learning settings, understand our place in the change needed in the world, carrying our emotions, and supporting the emotions of our children. It's a lot of work.
By learning and developing a growth mindset in our home culture, we can see how, even when things feel hard, that difficulty is simply part of the process. Challenge is growth. It's not a reason to walk away.
It's completely okay to have bad days. To give ourselves the space to feel what we feel, and to not judge ourselves for that. I'm not saying we should make that go away. But it's also really nice to know that we do have the power to change the way we think. To know that we can, scientifically, mold our brains to know it's possible to grow and change and make a difference.
Head over to Big Life Journal to see their amazing resources, and give them a try in your home!