By: Rebecca Macsovits, Author of Guion The Lion
The children’s book, Guion The Lion, features two main characters– Rae the Bushbaby, who has more of a fixed mindset in the beginning and Guion The Lion, who showcases a growth mindset. As a reminder, kids with fixed mindsets believe their abilities are fixed traits and cannot be improved no matter how hard they try while kids with growth mindsets believe their talents and abilities can be cultivated through hard work and dedication. Which mindset do you hope your kids have? Personally, I’m shooting for a growth mindset.
I believe teaching kids to have a growth mindset at a young age is so important. This is why I included it as a theme in Guion The Lion. Research suggests that kids with growth mindsets do better in school, have higher self-esteem and are more social. A growth mindset is the difference between, “I can’t do this'' and “I can’t do this, YET.”
Because most children are not born with a growth mindset, it needs to be nurtured and developed. At the beginning of this year, I wrote a blog post sharing tips for nurturing a growth mindset. As the year comes to an end, I want to emphasize the importance of reflection when it comes to building a growth mindset.
Many individuals and families take time to set goals or resolutions for the New Year. But how many of them take the time to reflect on the progress they made in the previous year? Probably not too many. I know I struggle with distraction of the hustle and bustle of the holidays, and it is easy to quickly move on to the New Year without reflection if you’re not intentional.
Reflection is a key link between goal setting and assessment. Reflection helps us learn from failure. Reflection plays an important role in personal growth and goal setting. Of course, we learn by doing, but we can learn even more by doing and reflecting. Our experiences, successes, trials and failures can be our best teachers, if we take time to reflect on them.
The end of one year and beginning of the next offers an opportunity to reflect back before planning ahead. Reflecting as a family can be a great way to intentionally connect and encourage one another while nurturing growth mindsets. Here are a few tips for family reflection:
If you don’t make family reflection a priority, it will never happen. Determine a time that works best for your family to gather and block it off on your calendar. Explain to your kids what to expect and get them excited about spending time together reflecting on the year!
Reflection can be intimidating. Try breaking the ice by looking through family photos from the year and reminiscing about all the memories you made together. This not only breaks the ice and gets your kids talking, but also sparks memories about the events of the year.
Now, time to reflect! Encourage your kids to assess the year by answering a list of reflective questions. Give them ample time to think about and/or write down their answers before asking them to share with the rest of the family. Let their answers spark conversation about learning from failure and practicing a growth mindset.
Last, but not least, guide your kids to setting goals for the year ahead based on what they learned from the previous year and hope to achieve in the future. Next year, you can assess growth based on these goals.
Need help brainstorming family reflection questions? Download 8 reflection questions to ask your kids here. These will help your kids assess what progress they have made and what areas they can still improve on as they look toward the New Year.