Keeping a Growth Mentality and Growing with my Child

It took me a while to notice, but I’ve been growing together with Calvin. A part of me thought I was already all grown up and mature but as we all know that is the fallacy of youth. When I think about how confident I was in my late teens, I start to cringe at my naivety. I guess true maturity is when you can acknowledge that you are not perfect nor invincible nor  knowing, but still essentially a work in progress with much more room for growth.

I’ve been reading the works of Prof Carol Dweck recently on how the different mindsets of people can affect their motivation and performance. It all started because Calvin will be starting formal schooling soon and I’m wondering what I should do to prepare him for it so he can have a good experience, but I probably benefited just as much from it.

People with a fixed mindset are those who believe that qualities such as intelligence or talent or personality are determined and cannot be changed; they also avoid challenges because of the risk of not appearing smart. They believe that talent alone will create success – effort is for those without talent.

With a growth mindset people believe that they can develop their intelligence or talent by determination and hard work. I can see a mix of both in myself. Having gone through the Singapore system with the multiple streams and focus on results, I have inevitably picked up the fixed mentality that fixation on results encourages.

And I think it was partly this mindset that made me sink into depression before. I felt like I was not rewarded for my talents and by proxy felt that I was inferior and trapped. I think if I had thought not so much on how I should be rewarded but how I can learn better, I would have felt better.

Even now, I sometime catch myself feeling down at being contented to stay at home and not have any ‘achievements’. It made me feel worthless. I appreciate the time I have to take care of Calvin, teach him and mold him and to be supportive of J, but still I wonder if I’m wasting my life not achieving. Recently, as I start to learn more about motivation and the growth mindset, I feel surprisingly liberated. I learn to recognize that in these years as a stay at home mother, I have worked hard at learning to cook a variety of meals; I have learned to be more patient and understanding how to build a strong relationship with our dear son; I have learned about how to motivate and communicate appreciation for other’s hard work. I’ve also had lots of practice mirroring and emphathizing and I feel that overall, I’ve become a better person. I think in view of all that it has been a great three years for me. I start to feel younger, filled with hopes for our future, unburdened of my own baggage of needing to look successful. I hope I will keep this new sense of wonder and hope as I move on.

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