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Planting Positivity: Empowering Kids to Grow a Better Future

June 26, 2024

Table of Contents

Planting Positivity: Empowering Kids to Grow a Better Future

Cultivating a Growth Mindset

This year, I’m teaching Growth Mindset to my kids. My goal is to foster positivity to inspire big dreams and empower my children to be a force for positive change. I’ve discovered a fun, easy, and effective way to achieve this goal with Big Life Journal.

A growth mindset – it sounds a bit like an infection, something you need to see a doctor about, but it’s not. A growth mindset is the one thing that can set a person up for success throughout their life. Having a growth mindset means you believe in effort and outlook over innate talent or ability. You believe you have control and the ability to influence the results through your actions, rather than being a passenger in life. Children raised to have a growth mindset are resilient, believe in themselves, and know that they can be a force for positive change.

Teaching growth mindset might seem overwhelming, but with the right tools, everyone can learn to have a growth mindset. For me, it all started with my oldest son’s struggle with perfectionism. “I’m no good at this,” he’d screech, his cheeks ruddy, forehead glistening with sweat. “I suck at math. I just can’t do it.” Then he’d throw himself on the floor in anguish.

I’m not sure when my son became a perfectionist. I guess in many ways, he always has been. While my youngest would chant “I’m practicing, I’m practicing, I’m getting better, I’m getting stronger” as he rode his bike around, my oldest would fall from his bike once and melt into a puddle of anguish. I knew from talking to other parents of gifted children that they often say their children are perfectionists that struggle with failure and high levels of frustration. But I truly believe it doesn’t need to be that way.

Embracing the Power of Yet

In some ways, it’s like my son has struggled to believe that persistence and practice are really the most important things. That mistakes are not a sign of failure, but an opportunity for learning and growth. That giving up is preferable to fighting. My heart breaks when I see him project this Fixed Mindset – believing he was given one set of skills and abilities, and that is all he gets. That he is in some way limited in life by some unseen and unknown force.

I started focusing on something different. Instead of focusing on the math or riding the bike, I focused on his brain. We started talking a lot about how the brain learns, how it grows, how it takes hard work to form new neural connections. But how with hard work comes rewards. Then the other day, as my son was attempting a chin-up and failing, he turned to me and said, “It’s okay though, right? It’s okay that I can’t do it yet, because my body is learning and getting stronger when I try.” My heart fluttered a little – he was starting to get it.

But we still had a lot of work to do to help instill a true Growth Mindset, to teach a Growth Mindset and instill in him the power that he has over his own destiny. And for this year, that is my goal with him. Once he has that Growth Mindset, I know he will be so much more successful in life. Because here’s the thing – without it, he is destined to fail, give up, and live a life of frustration. I can’t let that happen. I want to set my son up for a life of success.

The Power of Positive Thinking

With a growth mindset, you believe that:
– Challenges make me stronger
– Mistakes help me learn
– I grow my brain by learning hard things
– I can always improve
– When I work hard, I get better

As followers and readers of Thornapple CSA, I’m sure you’ve heard about Growth Mindset – it seems to be everywhere. But the reason there’s so much hype about it lately is because it really works. Kids who adopt a growth mindset, which in many ways is also a positive mindset, see transformational changes in how they approach their abilities and what they can achieve.

When they say “I can’t do something” or “I am not good at math,” these are all signs of a fixed mindset. A growth mindset is the opposite. With a growth mindset, kids learn that they can always improve with effort and hard work. They learn they can grow their brain when they learn new things. It’s all about growing.

This year, I’m focusing on building a positive growth mindset in both my children. My goal is to foster positivity to inspire big dreams and empower my children to be a force for positive change. But here’s the thing – I’m also insanely busy, like every other parent out there. Knowing HOW to teach this elusive skill set has been an uphill struggle for me. Finding the time to teach this without it becoming another lesson filled with objections and eye rolls was a daunting task.

The Power of Positivity

Then I found the Big Life Journal. It’s like the creators dove into my mind, grabbed all these thoughts, ideas, and lessons I had bouncing around in my brain, and made them better, prettier, and so much more effective. Most of all, they made it easy and fun – something my kids WANT to do.

With the Big Life Journal, we sit down once a week and do an entry. The kids learn about how ordinary people who have done amazing things. It’s filled with inspirational stories, gorgeous illustrations, and powerful messages. It also has exercises to help my kids reflect on how they can be better and do better, emulating the mindset that helped these other people achieve great things.

Slowly, bit by bit, as they read about Elon Musk, Walt Disney, and Joanne Rowling over the year, I hope to instill in my children, and myself too, a belief in themselves and the positive influence they can have over themselves and the world around them. There are few tools that I believe are a must-have for ALL children, but this journal and its messages of positivity, empowerment, and growth are something I truly believe all children should have. Not to mention the many adults that could benefit from these lessons too.

Nurturing the Next Generation

Today, new options have emerged for raising young people in the world, and new capabilities have arrived. The value of education – i.e., learning in advance – to help and change the world has seriously declined versus other options now open to us. Many today view this decline in the importance of education as a negative, but I believe the decline in importance of education is not only inevitable, but it is the start of a long march by humanity to something new and better – the empowerment of our young people.

Empowerment means self-direction by young people PLUS accomplishment of real world-improving projects with Measurable Positive Impact. This move to Empowerment represents the end of a long period of adults controlling almost everything young people did through parenting, school, and culture. It represents the unleashing of the power of another unused half of the world – Women comprise half the world, and so do people under the age of 35.

In the future, it is not school that will be compulsory for young people, but rather positive accomplishment in some self-directed form. This will enable our 2 billion young people to do what they increasingly tell us they want to do – change the world, in ways that are better for everyone, and to start doing so far earlier in life.

Empowering the Next Generation

Recently, we are starting to see Empowerment Hubs emerge and grow – places of various kinds where such real-world-impacting projects can happen and flourish. Different forms of these generic Empowerment Hubs are starting up under various brand names in organizations, schools, and companies on every continent, as well as in the Cloud.

An Empowerment Hub is easy to start by almost anyone or any group, requiring only small teams of young people having a common interest, responsible supporters, and knowledgeable coaches in whatever domain the projects involve. The coaches do not even have to be certified teachers – in fact, the move from education to empowerment opens up coaching kids’ projects to the entire generation of adults, all of whom have some experience to share.

Over the next few decades, what will likely happen is that education – as we knew and did it in the 20th century and still do it today in most places – will painfully drag on. Many 20th century-born adults, parents, and educators, will insist on it for their children. But more and more young people will find their way out of education and school into various brands of Empowerment Hubs. The Hubs will share the joint mission of self-direction plus real-world-improving accomplishment with Measurable Positive Impact.

Young people will build up in these Empowerment Hubs resumes of accomplishments and improvements to their world – results that they can proudly point to as having made and where the world can see their Measurable Positive Impact. As parents see more and more young people coming home from Empowerment Hubs happy from accomplishing with positive real-world results, rather than stressed-out and worried as so many come home from school today, and as more employers start relying on the kinds of résumés of accomplishments that emerge from Empowerment Hubs rather than on formal academic degrees, it is likely that the world, parents, and young people will vote with their feet and move to something better.


Education – as we do it today in schools – will never disappear entirely, but will become a niche artifact of our past, much like Latin, Greek, and clipper ships have done. In the future, it is not school that will be compulsory for young people, but rather positive accomplishment in some self-directed form. This will enable our 2 billion young people to do what they increasingly tell us they want to do – change the world, in ways that are better for everyone, and to start doing so far earlier in life.

As for me and my kids, we’ll keep nurturing our growth mindsets and positive outlooks, empowering ourselves and the next generation to plant the seeds of a better future, one positive project at a time. After all, as they say, “every day is a good day” when you have the power to make a difference.

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