Monday, August 19, 2013

Applying a Growth Mindset to Cleaning

If you've ever dropped in on me unannounced (or even announced, hah!), you know that cleaning and organizing is a major struggle for me. I came across A Slob Comes Clean last week. This quote reminded me of what I'm learning about math in my How to Teach Math course. Now that I've learned about having a growth mindset, I'm seeing it everywhere!
Here's what Dana White says about keeping a clean and organized home:

"As an adult, I have realized that most things in life can be learned. I taught Theatre Arts, and have a passion for teaching people to act. I always had a natural ability in the area of acting, but I remember when my eyes were finally opened to the fact that acting is a skill that can be learned. I have such incredible gratefulness toward the college professor who taught us real, tangible skills. For me, the skills brought me to a new level. But what I love about teaching acting is seeing people who never thought they could act, learn that they can! I have seen kids and even adults go from being shy wallflowers with almost no confidence to being excellent actors, because they learn the skills.

There are people who pick up a guitar and play it beautifully the first time. There are others who take off as soon as someone teaches them how to do it. Then there are others who are terrible at first. It doesn’t come naturally, but they spend hours and hours practicing the small things, until they can finally play a song.

When it comes to having a neat and orderly home, I am the one for whom it doesn’t come naturally. But as I try to teach my children, skills can be learned. I’ve made lots of excuses in the past and felt completely justified because keeping a neat home is legitimately hard for me. But the more I practice the skills I need, the better I become. If I keep practicing, and don’t give up, maybe someday I’ll be good at this!"


  1. This made me think. I'll apply it to something else, like driving a stick shift...
    I thought you might like this too.
    Especially #3 about blessing your family by cleaning. It's nice to think of dishes as a blessing.

  2. Hah! I remember that learning curve! I bought a standard car before moving to PEI, and had still not quite mastered it before moving here. Fun times...
    Thanks for the link. I don't think I ever really have the negative self talk she describes, my negative messages to myself tend to be more like "I'll never succeed at having a clean and orderly home, I'm just not good at it." So I need to remember that anyone can learn anything, including how to keep house well. I really liked her #3. Motivation to keep trying. It will bless all of us.

  3. I love what you call a 'growth mindset... I'm very aware of it. It makes me think that anything is possible, if I just take small steps toward my goal. I use the awareness every day as I practice the latest routine/behavior I'm learning.
    I don't have much of it when it comes to cooking, though. I feel like I'm too busy to change a situation that isn't ideal.

    1. The way MM got up every time he fell when he started walking last week was pretty inspiring too. Soon he'll be walking effortlessly, and he won't even remember the falling. Someday I'll be doing that with my housekeeping...