Obviously I thought of about a billion other things I wanted to say. And I wanted to try to condense what I did say. And I wanted to send you some links. This is going to be a long email.
The ability to think in analogies is endlessly useful and transferable. It is a limitlessly adaptable tool. It is easily taught just by offering and exploring examples. It allows you to make any experience into a lesson. Make sure to discuss how to tell an effective analogy from an ineffective analogy (they can be slippery).
Think of kids as scientists. They want evidence to believe and trust things (a really good analogy can be very convincing). Mine their experiences for evidence. Instead of citing rules in the face of destructive decisions, cite reasons to choose differently. Show them how painful experiences can be mined for information to learn from and turned into growth. This process is active and results in wisdom. Many have plenty of experiences and gain no wisdom because they fail to reflect and mine for lessons. Example: They all learned to walk. How long did that take? How many times did they fall down? And now they can run and dance and climb. They have all already demonstrated grit.
Self and knowledge building are related active processes. Your role is to build a scaffolding that holds up the framework while they fill in the gaps. But it must be structured such that it can be completely removed without compromising the integrity of the building itself. Try to avoid robbing them of opportunities to practice completing a task independently.
Learn the lessons with them! Delay gratification together. Make a goal to achieve together. Teamwork is another highly adaptable and useful tool/strategy/skill. I realized I should cite the fact that I only started exercising last year for the first time ever because my dad started running with me. We’re held accountable to each other. But now sometimes I even go without him. Just an example.
A good activity would be recording daily things like mood, eating, self-control, habits, chores, and tracking them on a graph over time. This is a math lesson in addition to being a useful tool for habituating self reflection, and a “little by little” project which demonstrates the pay off of grit. To be clear: no rewards. Just tracking. The reward is the data you get to look back at and learn from.
I should have talked more about evolution. Please teach them about evolution in detail. Talk about how our species started. It is so relevant. And now humans have basically stopped evolving physically and now our ideas are evolving. The basic principle is simple: new combinations are tested in the environment. If they pass the test, they get to keep recombining with other ideas. Our decision making heuristics are also like this.
Ok that’s enough. Geez. I could go on and on. Send me any questions any time. Really.
Anyway, thanks again for coming and sharing your experiences and ideas!