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Thursday, February 22, 2007

You sure are smart!

Here's some food for thought. A recent article in New York Magazine explores the fallout of praising your kids. The twist? It's not about how much you do it, but how you do it. It's interesting reading.

“Emphasizing effort gives a child a variable that they can control,” she explains. “They come to see themselves as in control of their success. Emphasizing natural intelligence takes it out of the child’s control, and it provides no good recipe for responding to a failure.”

In follow-up interviews, Dweck discovered that those who think that innate intelligence is the key to success begin to discount the importance of effort. I am smart, the kids’ reasoning goes; I don’t need to put out effort.

Oh, this sounds sooooooooo familiar. I was labeled at an early age, primarily because I was an early reader. I don't think I *tried* very hard on anything throughout my schooling until I got to college, and only when absolutely necessary there. Yes, I was in the advanced classes, but I aimed for mediocrity. If something I attempted didn't come easily, I was convinced that I couldn't do it. I had, and still do in many ways, an extremely low work ethic.

Damn. It really makes me rethink a lot of things.

1 comment:

  1. Wow. This sounds a lot like me and my life. Similar to you, I was in advanced classes as a child. High school had its moments of difficulty, but it was not until college that I really had to knuckle down and study the things that did not come to me intuitively.

    Now, I find myself discouraged by things I can't just pick up and do without significant effort. I think procrastination also plays a part here.

    But... as I've now got a 1-year-old that I am trying to raise in the best way that I can (especially when it comes to building her self-esteem), I should probably take in some of the research that's out there. Thanks for the heads-up!

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