This week’s Growth Mindset classroom discussions were on the truth about how incredibly special and unique we all are.
One of my very favorite books – for people of ALL ages – is called “You Are Special” by Max Lucado. The book tells the story about a young man named Punchinello. In the town where he lives, all of the people carry around boxes of star stickers and gray dot stickers. When they are impressed with someone, they put a star sticker on them, and when they are not impressed with someone, they put a gray dot on them. All day, the people in this village do their best to get stars from each other, and the people who cannot seem to perform well enough to get stars, walk around in shame. Punchinello is one of those people. The fact is, Punchinello is like most people – walking around in shame, fearing the judgement of others, and never feeling good enough, talented enough, successful enough – doing everything to earn stars, and beating themselves up over the gray dots that they’ve been marked with.
The thing is, Punchinello was judging his value and self-worth by the words, opinions, and judgements of people around him. He was comparing his strengths and talents to the strengths and talents of other people. He had completely lost sight of the fact that he was perfectly created, special and unique, and his creator never intended for him to be like everyone else. He was never intended to have the same looks, talents, skills, brain, body, life, as any of the people he was comparing himself to. How often do we do this exact same thing to ourselves? How often do we (unintentionally) do this to other people, even our own children? Rather than trying to be the best version of who we were created to be, or expecting our children to be the best version of who they were created to be, we think, “why can’t I be like that person?”…”Why can’t my child be like that other child?” The answer is, because we were never meant to be like everyone else! And as long as we focus on comparing ourselves to other people, and we allow other people’s judgement of us to dominate our thoughts, we will struggle to become who we were truly meant to be.
So many of our students join us in Foundations feeling discouraged, ashamed, like a failure…different. They struggle to put effort into their work because they don’t believe in themselves. They just want to be “normal,” and their parents want them to feel normal. The tragic truth is, they are ALREADY normal. Regardless of how academically behind, socially awkward, uncoordinated, or how many past failures they have experienced, they are perfectly normal, uniquely created, and lovable just as they are. You are too!
I encourage you to take a few minutes to watch the story of Punchinello (the story of the struggle we all experience), and to rewatch it every time you need a little reminder about how special you truly are: You Are Special (8 mins)
Wishing you a fun and relaxing weekend! : )