This week’s mindset moment began on the teams course. My co-instructor this week had just finished briefing the kids on how to use the “Islands” course, when two boys quickly stepped up to be the first ones to try. After their unsuccessful attempt, three girls eagerly followed suit having just spent their time on the side lines strategizing. One of the girls who volunteered her efforts had been an enthusiastic participant in nearly every activity up to that point. Amid the constant onslaught of voices around her, she took the lead and quickly stepped across the gang plank. Once in the middle, the construction failed and she stepped off into the mulch. “I feel so stupid!” she cried. Dejected, she ran away from the group and toward a tree where she sat alone crying. Barely containing her extreme disappointment in herself, she looked up at me and continued to talk about herself in a negative way.
This was a rather low point in the day as you might imagine. I struggled to find words to help her at this point. Remembering the voice of a mentor, I feebly attempted to turn the situation on its head. “You were so courageous to volunteer! Would you try it again if you had the chance?” I asked. She waved off my first comment, but to the second she nodded. I can’t help but feel like that would have been a great opportunity to interject with a comment on growth mindset, a person can change how they think about themselves with practice.
This scenario perhaps reminded me of where I stand at the moment as a potential role model and instructor. I would like very much to be able to help students change their perceptions of themselves by very subtly offering up clues into the growth mindset. I am thankful that kids can speak so plainly, if asked the right questions. Like any new mindset, I will try in the future SOP weeks to look for moments to strengthen my practice.