During childhood (and sometimes even know if the timing is right and I’m allowing myself) I was used to spent some time in the park close to my home, or more simply staying in the familiar place of my room wandering through my mind.
My favorite patterns and subject were people, witnessing experiences.
I was fascinated on the processes and the ways they were used to interact between each other, drifting from delusions, quarrels and the exciting moments that give humans the “seeds” to think on how things are intimately connected, disguised and quickly hided within conversations. I was so concentrated on my thoughts, that now I can bet that at that time, my parents leaved me alone as they believed I was doing the necessary brainstorming to gain higher notes on Italian, epic and literature homework. Coincidence was that I was lucky or methodical enough in all these subjects, so they had no reason to think otherwise.
There were time when I felt somehow “strange” and uncomfortable regarding this overwhelming dedication to reflection. There were periods when the flow to continue this exercise on deeper thinking regarding the correlation that define human nature, failures, objectives and how people tend to behave during conflicts, relationships, challenges, life swings, bad or good surprises became somehow absorbing.
Now these attitudes that seemed ineffective and a purely exercise for the sake of reflections, are much more complete and representative for the work I’m doing now.
I can say that the deeper reflection, motivations, reactions to events and experiences that are offered us all the time are the needed steps to start a personal development nestled on creativity, responsibility, self-awareness, and an inner sensitive research of meanings. The same attributes that might help all children and teens to manage their bearings and track their successful pathways through life despite every challenge to focus on that.
Let’s face it. Most of us tend to be reflective, attracted by a natural wander of our mind.
Why? Thanks to these precious minutes, time and moments we have the chance to notice, accept, understand and explore associations. We make connections with them all the time. We search for possibilities as we reflect to how the whole picture – that represent our objectives and daily work dedication – appears towards our senses.
Weeks ago I read the work and explored the research handled by Carol Dweck, TED speaker and very well known psychologist that by the way is also professor at Stanford University. What she does is to look at the whole history of learning psychology, dedicating her work to define a ‘growth mindset’ as the main element able to allow, inspire, and teach to children and teens how to become successful in their lives.
Professor Dweck says that “a growth mindset is when students believe that their abilities can be developed,” explaining that success and achievement extend beyond children’s abilities as they can tackle their attitudes about learning. When children develop growth mindsets, they see themselves more than just “a part of” the effective “authors” of creative works in progress. They are more able to face challenges and the possible failures related to them. These image of super determined and persevered young is pretty astonishing if we compared it to those with fixed mindsets that tend to be more attached to a finite set of abilities that determine their own level of feedback and success idea avoiding any possible extra challenge and the possible didactic failure related to it.
The point here is how do we want to raise the young of our generation to become innovators, leaders and guide them to be fully aware on the subtle and complex equilibrium of real life events manifestation. If we know the better strategy to allow them to stand within all the very bad and wonderful aspects of life unexpected alleyways and gradients related to purposes.
How does a growth mindset fuel a teenager’s ability to become a 21st century innovator? How do teachers and educators fully support the development of future leaders, helping them understand and recognize relationships, so to creatively imagine a different, integrated or innovative future?
To prepare for careers in complex and rapidly changing fields, middle and high school students must learn to think differently and interact with others in new and creative ways.
We can start to allow our children and students to see a problem or objective on 360 degree, and cultivate their sticky, habitual, dedicated and innovative thinking around it. It should be framed and get support and encouragement from mentors, educators and expert, able to guide and allow these young minds to go beyond the parameters of their age and experience, finding a proper order within events, instances, stories and the history related to it.
I stumbled upon a recent groundbreaking study, handled by Antonio Damasio, Jonas T. Kaplan and other researchers involved, introducing the reader on how the brain of a listener/reader processes narratives, with the purpose to identify regions of the brain where humans acquire meaning. They discovered that we find meaning through the interpretation of life stories and experiences. This means that narratives and stories are an important component of culture and play a central role in transmitting social values.
A receiver’s response to narration is influenced by the narrator’s framing and appeal to values.
The clue here is that narratives that appeal to “protected values,” including core personal, national, or religious values, may be particularly effective at influencing receivers. Protected values resist compromise and are tied with identity, values, moral decision-making and other aspects of social cognition. The effect strength also varied across groups, potentially reflecting cultural differences in the degree of concern for protected values but researchers recognized that there is a part of the brain responsible for this higher-level processing. This research concerns should be relevant for both parents, educators and teachers because making meaning of life experiences is how children grow and develop into self-confident, responsible and empathetic adults.
A characteristic of stories is that they require us to integrate and find a meaning to the information we gather and organize over time. Such ourselves, to grasp the meaning of a story, a child must make connections between words, events, and relationships.
Despite every possible optimism, nowadays more people are showing interest toward these topics, looking to them through different perspectives. Moreover, the space and educational programs dedicated to brainstorming activities, discussions and training is going to gain attention and momentum as they saw as key able to help young understand the fundamental procedures behind connections, considering their sharable vision.