At our daughter’s recent award assembly, the school Principal addressed the topic of ‘Growth Mindset’. She noted how education was more than merely preparing students for exams and aiming for maximum marks on their university entrance ranking.
In a country where we have national examinations of all school children every two years from the age of seven, this is a somewhat radical position. Though the education system has always had its critics (ourselves among them), it was pleasing to hear an education leader focus on the essential values of education as a formation of character rather than the simple transfer of information and robotic assimilation of skills.
The Growth Mindset is about an approach to education that imbibes in students a value for constant development and improvement, rather than simple performance to formula. It requires a hunger for learning and a curiosity about their subjects of study. It is about equipping students with intellectual flexibility and psychological resilience that is the only way to prepare them for a jobs that don’t yet exist.
A Growth Mindset will be essential for workplace success in the fast-changing world that is our present and future reality. It’s also essential for success in relationships, especially marriage. A marriage that has ceased to grow in intimacy and complexity, is more than merely stagnant – it is a relationship in decline.
Why? Because people change.
We change every week and even every day. If our relationship isn’t being updated daily through intimate conversation and meaningful interactions, we simply drift apart. It’s inevitable. And it happens all the time to good couples – to wonderful, big-hearted people, who didn’t do anything wrong, they just failed to do what is necessary.
We all know that if we don’t put significant effort into developing our careers, sooner or later, some more energetic or innovative person will bypass us or displace us. As employers, we know that if we don’t provide opportunities for staff to grow and expand their abilities they will likely lose interest and look for employment in an organisation that nourishes their need for growth.
The same risks are there for couples too. If we don’t grow as individuals and as a couple, we will feel unfulfilled and frustrated in the relationship. We need growth for our emotional and spiritual health, and if we’re not getting it in and through the marriage, the relationship becomes a desert; a dry and lifeless environment that we will eventually find uninhabitable.
All couples need a growth mindset, to ask “what have I done for our marriage today?” Just like our daughter’s Principal wants to see her students blossom to their full human potential, so too does God want our marriage to be always growing.
So think about what you have done in this regard in the past few months. If your mind comes up blank, perhaps it’s time to commit to a Growth Mindset!