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“Growth mindset” may be a buzz phrase in education and parenting, but for good reason. Helping children orient their thinking and achievement related to growth, rather than achievement measured by a standard, can create motivation and productivity, as noted researcher Carol Dweck writes.

Just as nature grows, so do we as people. Our work and contributions to our community grow. Yet, we don’t know how it will all turn out, and this is where the learning opportunity resides. We must accept this uncertainty, this brushing up against a reality we didn’t desire nor plan for, and maximize the opportunities that emerge.

I have plodded forward to adopt this growth mindset, especially as more of what I aspire to do needs the support and effort of many people. It’s a very active practice for me. 

And just a note here about what “should” be:

There is so much “noise” and demands on our attention today that run from an infinite stream of information it seems we need to know, digest, and use.

Those working to create healthy schools and communities must rise above this fray. You need to to plan, take the calculated risks, and be flexible in reaching your goal. That is, you are not flexible about achieving your goal but you are flexible in how you reach it.

Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

Here are blog posts that chronicle my work to install an outdoor classroom at my daughter’s public elementary school, and the inflection points where I had to adopt a growth mindset that differed from my long-held ideas of how I’d achieve my goal.

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