Today, was the first open day for the public of the Singapore Maker Extravaganza at The Science Centre Singapore. Being science students ourselves, we reminisce naturally about the school projects, when we are apprised of such events.
Considering next 11 years of our son’s school life would be dedicated to learning, research and practice of science, it is imperative that he witnesses such events in person to have a fair understanding of the ‘action’.
Hence, we planned our trip to this day, and witnessed booths arranged by an array of stakeholders ranging from school children to polytechnics to engineers to entrepreneurs, aged 10 to 60 years. Their enthusiasm was much appreciated by the visitors who themselves were from all walks of life.
The theme of this year was, scientific innovations keeping in mind, The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals for 2030. There were plenty of opportunities and science-based inventions to learn from, and projects that can help meet these goals. We could very well relate to the theme and ideas around it, since he has appropriately been introduced to them, both at home as well as in school.
In between all of this, there was a booth that was set up by a group of school children, that involved activities focused on building GRIT, as clearly shown by Dr Angela Duckworth in 2017, with Growth Mindset being the central element as illustrated by Dr Carol Dweck.
Now, being a Positive Parenting Educator, it was only fair for my child to have a hands-on of this activity. In simple terms, this was a board game with a track made of several blocks, and each block was a move based on a token throw. With each move there were written instructions to follow (obstacles), of which one of them was to keep waiting at a spot, for some good reasons as mentioned in them (testing endurance). And the objective of the game was to play till the end, to reach the finish line.
This game which seemed very quick and easy took around 40 minutes to complete, seeing this, I was reminded of a real-life incident that was shared by Positive Psychology instructor, coach, and trainer, Ms Jana Dawson. There was a moment in one of the tracks of a motor racer, Lyndon Poskitt (please watch from 45:53 to 49:00), inspiring enough for us to give goosebumps anytime we watch it.
At the end of the game, as a token of appreciation, Ivan received a GRIT medal by the organisers, to encourage his efforts and motivate him to keep using this as a strength to help him build a strong character.
While returning home in the MRT, Ivan asked me the meaning of GRIT. We were amazed to see how this simple game has created a sense of inquiry in him and to address this concept, and we started with the dictionary meaning of the word.
We further realised that this is an excellent opportunity to build more on it with real-life examples taken from both past and present, personal as well as evolutionary. Further, we also introduced him to work done by Dr Angela Duckworth at The Character Lab, in lucid language and suggested that there are many tiring journeys in life that test our patience and endurance, just like in today’s game.
As I am recounting the instances of this day, I realise again, that every day, there are sufficient times, which when viewed through the lens of flourishing ingredients, provide us pockets of opportunities to introduce to our children and empower them with thriving skills.
To sum up, as parents:
1. We need to recognise these opportunities,
2. Leverage on the immense scientific study available to our disposal to explain them in easy to understand language,
3. Substantiate with relevant personal examples, and
4. Reinforce them when children are faced with challenges in life, to encourage in their endeavours.
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Park, D., Tsukayama, E., Goodwin, G.P., Patrick, S., Duckworth, A.L., 2017. A tripartite taxonomy of character: Evidence for intrapersonal, interpersonal, and intellectual competencies in children. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cedpsych.2016.08.001. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/306095610_A_Tripartite_Taxonomy_of_Character_Evidence_for_Intrapersonal_Interpersonal_and_Intellectual_Competencies_in_Children