Lately, my reading has focused on the “how to think about life” genre. These books, by authors like Brene Brown and Carol Dweck, give me different ways to think about interactions. People. Parenting.

I’m particularly struck by Brene Brown, though I’m kind of waiting for her to come up with new insights to share – since the first ones were so revolutionary to me. Her theories about connection and shame and what we’re looking for as people resonate deeply. Check out her work – you might be inspired too.

Carol Dweck, whose book about mindsets is the one I finished last night, also has just one main point – our mindset can be the limiting factor in our development. Do you have a fixed mindset or a growth mindset?

Shame and growth and connection and mindsets – a lot of jumbled words together for an idea that’s not new to me – listen to people. Try to hear what they’re saying under the words.

Last night, when Maddie was melting down over a homework set, I initially got mad. She’s had 2 weeks to do 9 drawings and hasn’t started – they’re due on Wednesday, or so we think. She’s lost her book for English class and spends half an hour every night finding it again online to read her assignments rather than using the downloaded copy Jeremy put on her computer (or asking me to get the book from the library.) She came to the end of a math problem, one of 20 or more, and got stuck – and then refused to do anything else because that problem made her angry. She lay down on the floor and took 5 minutes to get up, put her head down on the paper and texted a friend.

Focus, Maddie, FOCUS!

Easy for me to say. When I asked her to come sit on my lap, I heard excuses (and really, that’s what they are) about the teacher standing in the way, or not having time to get her homework organized. We talked about how to talk to the teacher, or taking the initiative to move to see what she needs to see. I also heard her say loud and clear, under the other words, that she needs more time. So I offered to pick her up at the end of the day so she’s not rushed. And I hugged her, and told her we all need to ask for help, and even pointed out how Jeremy and I had asked each other for help that very afternoon.

There are things the school can do, yes, to make this better. But she’s responsible for her own actions and behavior. I can help her find the right ways to deal with this struggle (hint – lying on the floor is not a good way. Really, it’s not.) but the best thing I can do is help her realize that she can help herself.

I’m not sure I’d have been able to think about this this way before those books!  Looking for badass inspiration everywhere I can . . .

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