My wife, Wanda, just handed me my oldest daughter's progress report. Madison typically gets good marks and we are coming to expect them. Although I don't put too much stock in grades, there is one mark she did well on that gives me the sense that she is on the right track. One portion of the report reads:
The student demonstrates persistent work on tasks even when setbacks occur.
She received the highest mark on this attribute. This is not an accident. Whenever Madison does well, my wife and I always point out how hard she has worked to achieve her goal, be it in reading or another activity. In this way her success is linked in her mind tacitly with her previous effort. We shy away from words like talent that imply innate ability, and show her that she is in control of her development. She can learn the things she wants to learn.
On the bottom of the report the teacher wrote, "HER ART ABILITY IS AMAZING."
Again, this is not an accident: Link. It is also not something that comes naturally to her. She simply spends more time drawing, and studying drawing, than most other kids her age do. It helps that she has me to guide her, but I can't make her put in the time â€” she does that on her own.