Character education lessons, activities, and resources

Much has been written and said about the importance of building resilience, grit, and a growth mindset with students. In fact, several research studies show that resilience and growth mindset may be as, if not more important, predictors of future success than IQ or Grade Point Average. Helping your student develop a growth mindset may seem daunting. You cannot simply force another person to think a certain way. However, there are activities that, when done daily, can influence the mindset of your teen in a positive direction.

Activity #1 – 3 Gratitudes

Research shows that our brains are primed to recognize negative things like our faults and failures, first. However, research also shows that if we can train our brains to focus on the positive, we become more productive and better capable of overcoming new challenges.

One simple way to train our brains to be more positive is to ask your teen to share three things they are grateful for each day (you should share too). Instruct your teen that he or she must share something they are grateful for that is specific to the day. For example, saying, “I’m grateful for my friends,” is not specific to that day. However, saying, “I’m grateful for my friend Sam today because he bought me lunch when I realized I forgot money” is a good, specific answer. In order to train your brain to look for the positive, you must practice three gratitudes EVERY DAY. This is an excellent activity to do with your entire family, at mealtime, before bed, during car rides, or any time the family is together.

Activity #2 – Celebrating Failure

Often, teens will interpret failure as proof they have maximized their potential, and thus should not bother trying to get any better at a task or activity. As parents, we want to teach our teens to see failure as opportunities for growth not barriers. The link below will take you to a short video featuring CEO Sara Blakely. Watch this clip with your teen and then ask them:

  • Why did Sara Blakely’s father celebrate failure?
  • What lesson was he teaching his children?
  • What valuable lessons have you and your teen learned from failure that eventually made success possible?

Then, each day ask your teen:

  • What did you fail at today?
  • What did you learn from that failure?
  • What will you do better or differently next time?