Parkway e-News Story

The Power of the Word "Yet"

By Bill Senti

We love our children. So, naturally we go out of our way to insulate them from feeling bad or failing. But what if, instead, we empowered them to embrace failure and see it as an opportunity for growth?

We must not gloss over failure for children. We need to acknowledge it and also a child’s feelings of frustration. It's important that children understand that failure is a part of learning and that they have the power to learn from mistakes and improve the next time.

By doing this, we can encourage a growth mindset and teach our children the life skill of persistence.

Desi Kirchhofer, Parkway Deputy Superintendent, recently wrote about the power of a growth mindset for your child and outlined the differences between growth and fixed mindsets.  What is the difference between a growth and a fixed mindset? Watch this short video.

Mr. Kirchhofer outlined the words we can use as a way to promote and instill a growth mindset in our children. He highlighted the importance of making sure that we praise effort rather than intelligence when our children experience success.

But how do we address issues when our children fail or struggle with any given learning task?
First of all, we need to make sure children know that it's okay to make mistakes. It's okay to fail as long as we learn from the failure.

The last thing we want is a fear of failure to induce anxiety or impede their ability to take risks for the sake of learning. In fact, Seth Godin, author of Poke the Box, defines anxiety as “experiencing failure in advance.”

We can convey this message by acknowledging failures and struggles as a part of the learning process, and by modeling for them when we as adults make mistakes.

The power of the word “yet.”
How we respond when our children experience failure or demonstrate frustration with a given skill is important. We can promote a growth mindset in our children just by the words we choose when we respond.

Carol Dweck Ph.D., and author of Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, talks about using the power of the word "yet" to acknowledge these failures as they happen and to encourage a growth mindset. If your child is learning to ride their bike and they fall off, they may become upset and say, "I can't ride this stupid bike." You might then be able to respond by saying, "You can't ride that bike YET. I know it’s frustrating, but if you keep working hard at it you will get better."

“If you learn from defeat you haven’t really lost.” - Zig Ziglar


Bill Senti, Principal, Craig Elementary