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Growth or Fixed Mindset: Should I Forgive?

31 Jul

I’ve been studying a lot about fixed mindset and growth mindset for the educational coaching that I do.  Fixed mindset says that you are born with a certain intelligence and certain abilities. Growth mindset says that your intelligence and abilities can be grown with effort. The growth mindset is based on scientific findings of how much the brain can grow–in any area–with effort.

As a teacher, I believe in growth mindset. I can’t tell you how many times as an art teacher I’ve been frustrated by people saying, “I can’t draw.” “Just give me six weeks,” I beg, “You may not be Da Vinci, but I can teach you to draw.”

As a person, I have limited myself in other areas. (I’m not athletic. I’m not a math person, etc.)  If you want to learn more about these mindsets, here’s a 2-minute video by John Spencer. If you want to dig a little deeper, here’s an 8-minute video by Train Ugly. Here is a quick quiz to check your mindset.

According to Carol Dweck’s book, mindset: The New Psychology of Success, we even use mindsets in our relationships:

In a relationship, the Fixed Mindset wants revenge, wants their spouse/friend to pay penance, expects their spouse/friend to be able to meet their needs by “reading” their minds, their ideal relationship is one of (total) compatibility, and they believe that problems in the relationship indicate character flaws. One can have a fixed mindset in three areas: “You can believe your qualities are fixed, your partner’s qualities are fixed, and/or the relationship’s qualities are fixed.”

In a relationship, the Growth Mindset wants to understand, forgive, and move on.

My point here is not learning how to draw or do math but the fact that I believe God wants us to have a growth mindset.

And do not be conformed to this world [any longer with its superficial values and customs], but be transformed and progressively changed [as you mature spiritually] by the renewing of your mind [focusing on godly values and ethical attitudes], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His plan and purpose for you]. Romans 12:2Amplified Bible (AMP)

Spiritual maturity is all about learning not only to forgive but to live in a state of forgiveness where we forgive, as Jesus did on the cross, without being asked for forgiveness. I believe this is a life-long process of learning that we can aspire to if we have a growth mindset. I’m am not saying it’s easy; just important.

12 So, as God’s own chosen people, who are holy [set apart, sanctified for His purpose] and well-beloved [by God Himself], put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience [which has the power to endure whatever injustice or unpleasantness comes, with good temper]; 13 bearing graciously with one another, and willingly forgiving each other if one has a cause for complaint against another; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so should you forgive. 14 Beyond all these things put on and wrap yourselves in [unselfish] love, which is the perfect bond of unity [for everything is bound together in agreement when each one seeks the best for others]. Colossians 3: 12-14 (AMP)

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Life as a Metro System

9 May

Sometimes my life and interests seem so fragmented and even random.  I did the diagram below to try to make some sense out of my life and see where strands come together.

One thing leads to another, for example I’m doing a deep study on the book of Isaiah, which leads me to a course on Bible Arcing where you connect the propositions in the verses with one of 18 Logical Relationships to help with the understanding of Scripture.  I’M TERRIBLE AT IT! I mean it’s kind of frightening how bad I am at it.

This led me to apply what I know about Growth Mindset to my work.  I remind myself that I’m not good at this, YET!

Knowing what I know about scaffolding, or supporting, learners, I decided to do sentence diagramming as it too depends upon logical relationships, but is easier than Bible Arcing. I also felt like I had to learn more about learning, so I am taking two courses from Coursera: Learning How to Learn: Powerful Mental Tools to Help You Master Tough Subjects and Mindshift: Break Through Obstacles to Learning and Discover Your Hidden Potential. (These courses are free and from well-known universities. If you haven’t taken advantage of free courses called MOOCS (Massive Open Online Courses) offered by many of the best universities in the world, you should check it out.)

One powerful tool that has come out of this is that I am now learning the Pomodoro Method, which is a simple, but effective method of keeping you focused and on track in your learning.

All of this came out of the diagram I made–My Life as a Metro System–to help me to perhaps see and understand God’s purpose for my life and my desire to study Scripture well. I’m not saying that I understand His purpose, but I am loving digging deeper into the Scriptures.

Going Away

2 Jan

20161224_152050Sometimes I find statements that make me reflect upon life in the oddest places, like this quote from a Maisie Dobbs mystery:

“I’ll tell you this.  Leaving that which you love breaks your heart open.  But you will find a jewel inside, and this precious jewel is the opening of your heart to all that is new and all that is different, and it will be the making of you–if you allow it to be.”

Seventeen and a half years ago, I left that which I loved much–my family–to go on the mission field in Ecuador with my husband.  He did not have to drag me along–I was a more than willing participant, but my family–especially our sons, their wives, and our grandchildren will never know how difficult it was to say goodbye and continue to say goodbye for the next 17+ years.  My heart has been broken wide open many times–like the first Christmas when we went out for dinner and I could not stop the tears from rolling down my cheeks.  Like when trying to decide whether to get on a plane or not during times of family tragedy. Like saying “no” when our sons wanted us to return home.  Heart-rendingly difficult.

I’ve brought so many jewels back with me as we’ve transitioned back to the states:

  • A new appreciation for the United States of America as well as an understanding of what the United States could learn from other cultures.
  • Gratitude for the husband God has gifted me with.  He is a man that I can count on to have God’s will in the center and who gives great grace.  He makes me laugh, and puts the daily difficulties of life into an eternal perspective. His quirks make me love him all the more.
  • A flexibility that I know I would never have learned in the United States as it is a flexibility learned from grappling with cultural differences.
  • A passionate love for the Word of God which sustains me.
  • A deeper, calmer faith forged during the challenges on the mission field.
  • An ever quickening love for my Lord and Savior.

Please, don’t think I’m trying to make myself sound like some sort of spiritual giant–I’m far from it. For proof of that, read my blog post Woe is Me from last week. I’m sifting through the jewels that God has given me.

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Jeremiah 29:11

 

Good Thought/Bad Thought

10 May

Lord, your thoughts toward me are more plentiful than the flowers you've sown.

As I’ve worked my way through the first chapter of Jennifer Rothschild’s Bible Study Self Talk Soul Talk, I’ve come to identify with the following verse (in a negative way).

I spread out My hands all day long
to a rebellious people
who walk in the wrong path,
following their own thoughts. Isaiah 65:2 HCSB

Now, I love being convicted by the Holy Spirit.  I look on it as God’s loving hand guiding me along the path.  I often walk in the wrong path following my own thoughts because I am (drum roll please) a master at compartmentalizing.  When I’m at school I think about school.  When I’m at home I think about home.  When I’m at church (well, you get the idea).  It is easy for me to compartmentalize God out of my day.  During my morning quiet time He’s very present in my thought life.  I want Him to be in my thought-life ALL day long.  So I’m continuing to write “precious” on my hand when I leave the house so that I will remember that:

And to me how precious have been Thy thoughts, O God, how great hath been their sum! Psalm 139:17 Young’s Literal Translation

Your thoughts—how rare, how beautiful!
God, I’ll never comprehend them!
I couldn’t even begin to count them—
any more than I could count the sand of the sea.  Psalm 139:17  The Message