M.L.K.’s Lessons on Growth Mindset

Third Graders Rehearse A Fight for Equality, a play about the seeds of the Civil Rights Movement

Third Graders Rehearse A Fight for Equality, a play about the seeds of the Civil Rights Movement

This month we remembered the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.. We remembered his actions. We remembered his words. We remembered his mindset.

While there were many individuals and groups fighting to advance equity and inclusion in our nation during the Civil Rights movement, Dr. King’s legacy has been the most celebrated and the most enduring. There are, of course, many explanations for this, ranging from the ideological to the political. But perhaps there is another reason, one linked to the mind.

MLK refused to accept that broken and unjust systems were fixed. He also refused to accept that individuals were powerless to change these systems, just as an individual with a growth mindset refuses to accept that they are not good enough, smart enough, or talented enough. Growth Mindsetters, like MLK, keep moving forward and view challenges, setbacks, and feedback as opportunities to change, improve, and eventually succeed. While Martin Luther King Junior worked to change widespread laws and social systems, perhaps one of the largest fixed systems he sought to change was the mindset of a nation. After all, in order for laws and systems to change, people had to first change their minds. In his pursuit of this goal, King was dogged: a pillar of grit and perseverance.

"The fight for equality in our nation is not over. We must continue to learn and live the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Junior."

Student performers teach us that “The fight for equality in our nation is not over. We must continue to learn about and live the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Junior.”

MLK certainly had a growth mindset. But he also had a unique gift for inspiring others to grow their mindsets. This was his genius and his gift: his ability to lift up others and help them to believe that they could be more in the face of those who were determined to make them less, and his commitment to showing others how.
Unfortunately, the fight for equity and inclusion in our country is not over. We have moved forward, but we have not yet reached “the promised land.” Therefore, it is our opportunity and our obligation to continue to move forward, to grow our minds, and to continue to inspire others to do the same. Thank you, Dr. King, for showing us how.

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