24 Mar

The New York Times had a post titled The Stories That Bind Us a few weeks ago.  Essentially, the article says that children who know a lot about their family, who have a strong narrative sense of where they come from, do better in the face of adversity.  Specifically, children are more resilient when their family narrative contains stories of not only success and adversity, but overcoming hardships.  The “oscillating family narrative” allows children to connect to something greater than themselves, and to identify with the idea that they too can bounce back from setbacks or failures.

Identifying yourself as part of a group that overcomes hardships connects back to Carol Dweck and growth mindset.  The idea that narratives can tie an individual’s identity to a group, and to the success, failure, or mindset of the group, is a powerful tool for us to use to help children.  Families can certainly use this to build a family narrative, but so can teachers, schools, coaches, etc.  What would happen if we started telling students the stories of our (and our class’s or school’s) successes, hardships, and resilience?  Could we build that identity and mindset in our students?

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