I love a good book in the summer! This year is no exception, but the book I am reading is not one that I would pick to read for myself. The district that I work for bought each of their staff a copy and challenged us to read it, learn and grow from it personally, as well as further educate our students in the upcoming 2015-2016 school year.
“Mindset is written by a World-renowned Stanford University psychologist, Carol Dweck. After doing decades of research on achievement and success she discovered a truly groundbreaking idea – the power of our mindset. She explains why it’s not just our abilities and talent that bring us success – but whether we approach our goals with a fixed or growth mindset. ”
This is a secular book with great insight that has stretched my way of thinking, but it has also stirred up great emotions in me as I think about our oldest daughter, Catherine. She is a beautiful example of having the growth mindset.
Our Catherine is a May baby which means she is one of the youngest in her class. The first few years of school we saw her face some learning challenges. We chalked it up that it was her young age causing her delay. By the middle of her 3rd grade year, we knew that something more was going on with her ability to learn. We found ourselves on the waiting list at Scottish Rite Hospital in Dallas where they would do learning and aptitude testing to help us determine what she was struggling with. After 6 months of waiting and testing, she was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder Inattentive (ADD Inattentive). This news came with anxiety for all of us as a family. No one wants their baby to be labeled or struggle but this is exactly what we were up against. I found myself learning and reading about this diagnosis and doing whatever I could do to help my baby overcome. We met with her Pediatrician who helped prescribe medication for her. This was something that I didn’t want for her either. She took the medication for half a year with some evidence of improvement but not enough to warrant the change in her personality. Catherine did not like the way the medicine made her feel and she asked us if she could stop taking it. We had a discussion with her doctor and he told us that it was up to us. We could help her get by without it, but it would mean learning how to cope and overcome some areas where she struggles. We were up for the challenge.
I knew that we couldn’t do this on our own. We needed our mighty and strong God to help us overcome her weaknesses and ours too. I turned to Him for help, and I continue to seek Him when it comes to our baby overcoming. He continues to answer our prayer in amazing ways for our Catherine. She is OVERCOMING! The Lord has placed some amazing teachers and mentors in her path that also has the same mindset that we have. She can do anything she wants to do. There is nothing holding her back for reaching for her dreams and setting goals to get there. But there’s even MORE…our Lord lives in her. Where she is weak, He is STRONG (2 Corinthians 12:9-11)! We even had one of our best friends who is an artist paint a personalized message for Catherine on canvas. It hangs in her room so she can see it everyday and claim it as truth because it IS!
I think Dr. Dweck’s book is insightful and definitely worth the read, but there is nothing groundbreaking in it for the believer and follower of Christ. He tells us in His word in Romans 12:2, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.” He has given all of us abilities and talents to help shape us into the person He designed us to be. It’s up to us to believe Him and take Him at His word that He will never leave us nor forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6). Catherine’s diagnosis didn’t catch Him by surprise. He can use all of it for her good and help her grow into the woman of God that he designed. If we have worldly success along the way, we PRAISE Him, for it is Him that has made it possible.
We have much to PRAISE Him for! Catherine has been earning achievements that seemed impossible for her when she was in 3rd grade. Reading and math have been her strongholds. Last year in 7th grade, she was recognized out of her entire 7th grade team as an Outstanding Reader. This year in 8th grade, she was recognized as an Outstanding student in Math! She is figuring out that hard work and effort pays off. Never say never and never give up! The only way to fail in this thing called life is to quit. We have to keep going, even if it means we fail. Even if we are tired and we feel like we can’t give it anymore, we wake up and go at it again.
This past weekend, we saw Catherine WIN 1st place in a tennis tournament. She has earned many 2nd place trophy’s in her tennis career. We have learned so much through those 2nd place trophy’s. She knows that she can’t give up on academics or in her sports. You have to fight hard each and every day in order to be one that overcomes. She made it to the 3rd set tie-break and her anxiety was through the roof. Ryan and I could see it in her eyes and the way she held her chest. I began my prayer that I always pray, Lord, help Catherine overcome this fear and face it head on. Lord, be her strength! When she came off the court for her 3 minute coaching break she broke. Tears flowed and anguish and fear fell over her. She told us she didn’t think she could do it. We told her she could. I asked her to recall what her painting said in her room. And she said it out loud, Catherine can do ALL things through Christ who gives her strength. That’s right and He certainly did! She got to experience it and now we get to tell you about it. Our God is an AWESOME God! All GLORY is HIS! Don’t ever give up on yourself or your dreams…keep pressing on towards the GOAL and praise Him when He gives you sweet victories!!! #gloryup