A "2" in math! How could that be? He's such a bright young boy. This doesn't make any sense!
The teacher confessed, she's a very quiet little girl. She prefers to be with me. She has a hard time interacting with the other children.
If you are a parent, the details may be different, but the feeling is all-too-familiar: Panic!
The distance between a life hiccup and the anticipated failure of our child to graduate college is alarmingly short in our hair-triggered minds. This is especially so at two in the morning when our thoughts race and sleep evades us.
One of the reasons we get into such trouble is that we are being enticed by a "fixed mindset." We struggle to tolerate challenges, problems, or limitations with our children, because we fear that this will be the final word.
Is it possible that those anxious thoughts and sleepless nights could be assuaged by better ways of thinking about our children's abilities? A "growth mindset" is the belief that traits are malleable and humans are capable of growing. A growth mindset gets us back on track. It reminds us that the ability to tackle a challenge and to persist through difficulty is the essential fuel for the engine of success.
Check out this great TED talk on some very interesting findings regarding a growth mindset. And next time you're feeling seduced into a place of worry, take a deep breath and remember this: Your children cannot know courage, persistence, or resilience apart from difficulty!