The power of positive thinking and growth mindset in Star Wars: The Force Awakens (don't worry, no spoilers!)

The power of positive thinking and growth mindset in Star Wars: The Force Awakens (don't worry, no spoilers!)

I got to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens this afternoon, and I loved it, like the vast majority of movie goers and critics. The film has a 95% Rotten Tomatoes score and set a new all-time domestic debut record with an estimated $238M. With a five-day international debut of $279M, the film has taken in $517M globally. Wow!

No spoilers here, but the movie definitely is a great fodder for conversations with our kids. Common Sense Media offers five conversation starters for families after seeing the movie here, and one topic I would add to their list is talking about the ways that positive thinking and confidence influence the characters. Chances are the kids have heard abut the power of self-talk, and it's worth discussing with them that some characters think in terms of a growth mindset in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

There was one small moment in the movie that made a big impact on me regarding the importance of how you approach daunting tasks, and that believing in yourself can be critical to success.

"I can do this!" says Rey, who is trying to do something new and hard and scary.starwars5669d2535a572

The movie cuts to a shot of Finn, who is facing his own challenges at that moment.

He also says, "I can do this!"

The looks on their faces make it clear that they are doing something new and hard while under great stress, but their determination is unmistakable. It's okay to be scared and daunted and motivated and resolute, all at the same time.

A few moments later, Finn says with delight, "I'm getting good at this!"

It's like Carol Dweck's work about Growth Mindset - the idea that we can grow our brain's capacity to learn and to solve problems  that you can learn more about in her TED talk here - had reached the sandy backwater planet of Jakku.

And I loved that Finn's comment wasn't that he is good at this, but rather that he's improving as he goes. It very much follows the growth mindset idea that intelligence and skill are not fixed and can be developed, and that it's a process.

This very brief moment in Star Wars: The Force Awakens is one that tweens and teens likely won't dwell on, or even take note of, but it's worth pointing out to them and asking them to adopt a similar strategy when they face their next challenge, be it a tough homework assignment, playing an undefeated sports team, or learning a tough new piece of music or dance routine.

Beyond tweens and teens, it seems safe to say that when facing a big task, taking a deep breath and saying, "I can do this" and recognizing that we may not be great at it right away but that we can learn and improve is a great way to start.

There's much more to talk about from Star Wars: The Force Awakens, including some seriously great girl power messages that thrilled me, but I'll wait until everyone's had a chance to see it before diving in.

Until then, may the Force be with you!

Prior Post: Printable Christmas scavenger hunt clues, 2015 edition

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