Meeting for Worship & Perseverance ~ by Molly Cope
There are always trends in education that come and go, but the focus on teaching students perseverance has remained, and for good reason. Also known as grit and related to fixed and growth mindset, this idea that we should praise and encourage students for their willingness to learn from a new and difficult challenge rather than how “smart” they are makes a lot of sense. In a time when information is at anyone’s fingertips, the skills that we teach children have shifted a bit. From a science teacher’s perspective, it seems less important to have them memorize information and more important to teach them the benefits of curiosity, asking questions, connecting ideas, and being problem solvers. If you have not read, watched, or listened to anything about this topic, here is a helpful place to start:
Mindset by Carol Dweck; Carol Dweck is the pioneer of this research.
Growth Mindset v Fixed Mindset This video by John Spencer summarizes these two mindsets well.
Carol Dweck: A Summary of Growth and Fixed Mindsets This article also summarizes the main points of this philosophy.
How is this related to Meeting for Worship? Meeting for Worship is one of the very few times of the week that we have the opportunity to sit with our thoughts. Most of us fill our days with work, activities, news, information, notifications, podcasts, social media, entertainment; although it might be different versions of what fills their days, the same is true for many of our students. This leaves very little time for self-reflection. Although I often sit in Meeting running through my to-do list, the times when I am able to feel centered and use the time to reflect on what is important to me and how to nurture those things can be transformative. Meeting for Worship allows us that time.
If I had to name one thing I would want for my students, it would be the understanding that with perseverance, the right strategies, and often help from others, they have the ability to make change for themselves. I want students to have the opportunity to connect with their “true self,” to be able to see the version of themselves that is not under the veil of worry, or stress, so they can more clearly see what is important to them and, in turn, more clearly see how to arrive at that version of themselves that feels authentic, and to see that they have the power to make change not only for themselves but for the world around them. Even if it is just 30 minutes once a week, I am grateful that we can give students the room to consider all of this without any of the everyday distractions, sit in silence with their thoughts, and let them know that this is something valuable.