Working with kids is one of the most exhilarating and exhausting things I have ever experienced. I consider it an honor to get to know so many young people and their families, and I don’t take lightly the responsibility of empowering them to be independent lifelong learners fostering gratitude and empathy.

If I step back and think of what is happening currently in our city. Our state. Our country. Our world. I find myself more frequently in the studio surrounding myself with teammates, kids. At first it was an attempt to forget even for a minute, the pain. Injustice. Loss. Water. Surrounding so many people. It was to find moments of respite from “adulting”(the real world) in the presence of kids. Getting lost in their conversations. Their stories. Their outfits. Their smiles. Their tears. Their unapologetic joy. Their determination to try again.

Then it hit me. As I sat on the carpet next to a 9 year old reading the graphic novel, March, from cover to cover.

Yes, there is comfort in being around kids. But more…there is hope. Hope for change. Hope for greater kindness toward all people. Hope for intentional action for equity. Hope for greater communities and relationship building. Ones that are built respecting differences. Ones that value all voices. Large and small. Black and white. And every beautiful person in-between.

This is why we emphasize a growth mindset with kids. Oftentimes, we refer to growth vs. fixed mindset around certain skills. Math. Reading. Drawing. Language. But it is bigger than that. Growth mindsets are essential to how we grow as human beings and the imprint we want to have on the world. It causes us to hold up a mirror when we think about describing others and ourselves. And their habits. And our own habits. Superlatives don’t help. Instead, focus on progress and potential. On mistakes, moments of weakness as opportunities for growth. And celebrate the pivots toward change. The little wins. All of those little wins can add up to something great.

Before you know it, a kid who is known for distracting becomes someone who brings encouragement to a group.

Once those little wins out number the calling outs.

Before you know it, that 14 year old sees that 11 year old not as an age, but as a valued contributing member of society.

When you are overwhelmed by the reality of life. Come sit down with a group of kids from all different backgrounds. With different families. Different schooling experiences. Different socio-economic situations. Different ethnicities. Different skills and talents. Having a conversation about teamwork and responsibility. Hear their stories as they discover their purpose. Watch as they are empowered and held accountable to take ownership of their actions. And sit down and listen to their passion. It might just remind you of the potential for change. It might just make you hopeful, too…

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