(Please read chapters 1-6 for the context of the weaving of nonfiction topics and a fictional story unveiling a historical truth)
reading time: 8 minutes
Most people who know me would tell you I am usually a reasonable guy, and they would have a hard time imagining me speaking with ill intent about anyone.
But I have a secret.
Can I make myself comfortable on the therapy couch? I’ll feel better just bringing it out into the open. If you promise to keep my secret just between you and me, I will ease my conscience with you.
When I was in fourth grade, my teacher talked at length about famous women in U.S. history. In those days, my third-grade sister and I battled it out for kid supremacy in the Solorio household. In my young mind, my teacher seemed to be putting men down to elevate women. When she said, “Susan B. Anthony died in 1906,” I clapped and yelled, “Yay!”
I wanted to impress my fellow macho-men in the classroom and thought I was being funny. But no one laughed.
My furious teacher chewed me out in front of the class. I think I have repressed what she said to preserve my mental sanity over the years.
As an adult, I realized that Susan B. Anthony did some awesome things. For starters, she fought against slavery and for women’s right to vote. She was a Quaker who believed that God gave equal value to all people regardless of race or sex. I don’t know all of her beliefs, but she got the right POV(point of view) on some important issues of her day.
But in the fourth grade, I acted like a jerk.
What do I do with my shady past?
Come with me to my happy place. Let’s talk about baseball.
I think baseball is God’s favorite sport. Why else would He include it in the Bible? Didn’t you know baseball was in the Bible? Were you not paying attention when you read the very first verse? “In the big inningGod created the heavens and the earth.”
Look closer at baseball. Life throws you curves and brush-back pitches every day. Sometimes the opposition intentionally hits you to put fear and intimidation into your heart. While you’re trying to learn the proper mechanics of how to play the game of life at the highest level, people are stealing bases. You have a finite number of outs in life. You are considered successful if you only fail to get a hit 70 percent of the time. And all this time you are just trying to get home.
In the last few chapters we learned how we are broken and need to be fixed. And we discovered how the brokenness started. How can God transform us to learn how to live and grow so we can counter the horrors we commit against each other?
Is it possible to have unity, to love all people, to free the outcasts, and to achieve real social justice?
On one of my favorite Baltimore Orioles baseball podcasts, the director of player development for the Orioles, Matt Blood, talks about doing things the Oriole way. In the Inside the Yard Podcast episode 19, he mentions three pillars for the organization:
Having a growth mindset
These are pillars for life! I would argue that there is a good chance, whether realized or not, they are influenced by, or gleaned from the other Story. Let’s look at each one.
Humility (Proverbs 11:2; 22:4; Luke 14:11; James 4:10)
How far will we go in life if we think we already know everything? How will we learn our role in the Story if we assume the wrong POV (point of view) in the Story? Arrogance leads to disaster. If we assume our POV above all others, we will miss the Story.
Growth Mindset (Psalm 119:105; Proverbs 2:1-5; 3:5; Matthew 4:1-11; Romans 12:1-2; 2 Corinthians 5:17)
I highly recommend the book Mindset by Carol Dweck, which is mentioned in the podcast. The author states there are two mindsets: a fixed mindset and a growth mindset. Though I believe which POV we choose to live life from is the most influential decision we will ever make, choosing the fixed or growth mindset may be a distant second.
A fixed mindset is the belief that a person’s qualities, strengths, and weaknesses are fixed. As a result, people utilize various strategies to live up to their gifts, or perceived lack of gifts, as defined by those around them and their own internal voice.
A goal of people with a fixed mindset is to maintain and preserve their view of themselves.
The growth mindset is the belief that one’s potential is not set in cement. It is developed through passion, hard work, and help from others. People with a growth mindset live as what I perceive as students of life, enjoying the process of learning and becoming, and seeking ways to be tested, not for the sake of affirming themselves but for the sake of developing and growing through confronting strengths and weaknesses.
A goal of people with a growth mindset is to become the best version of themselves that they can be. There will be rejection and failures, but this is the path to success.
Jesus modeled a growth mindset. At Jesus’ baptism, God said He was pleased with His Son. Then Jesus was led into the desert, where He fasted for forty days and was tempted by Satan to the fullest before embarking on His public mission.
Collaboration (Genesis 2:18; Ecclesiastes 4:9-12; Proverbs 27:17;Romans 12:4-8; Ephesians 4:16; Hebrews 10:24-25; 1 Peter 4:10)
You and I cannot be all we are supposed to be without some help. We need to surround ourselves with those who will challenge us and help us grow.
A friend of mine once said that if he was going to have surgery, he wanted the most arrogant surgeon he could find because that person would be the best. I disagree. The surgeon who fits that description seems to me to be of a fixed mindset. That may or may not be the person I want operating on me.
I’d prefer a surgeon who is humble, who views himself/herself as a “student surgeon,” learning to be better every day. Someone who has a growth mindset is on the way to becoming highly skilled.
To become the best baseball player one can be, it would be wise to be humble enough to learn, to have a growth mindset that enjoys playing for the love of the game and the thrill of developing, and open to collaboration to learn and to teach what he/she learns.
Are you tired of people with arrogant and fixed mindsets setting your past mistakes and present abilities in stone and not willing to be challenged by others with opposing views?
Our society’s cancel culture believes we need to “cancel” and censor those who have certain beliefs contrary to those who desire to cancel. Some will dig up past sins of any convenient enemy, while ignoring their own, and attempt to suppress that voice. Some want to cancel our country’s history and principles because of the sins of our past. Some influential people want to burn everything down and restart our nation as anarchists, socialists, or Marxists.
Is this not a fixed mindset?
Should we not acknowledge that, even with our flaws, we can still be developing to become a better people?
There can be a sense of control and security if we had previous success believing our traits are fixed. Choosing a growth mindset forces each of us out of our control and security to seek out and to confront our flaws, mistakes, and past sins. Risks and discomfort accompany a sincere desire to develop despite our flaws.
The Author of the other Story has not cancelled you because of your past sins. He sees beauty and potential in you and wants you to grow into the best version of you that you can be.
God did not cancel me after my stupidity in the fourth grade.
He has not canceled you either.
We can choose to live the right POV in the Story, to be humble and learn His ways, to have a growth/student mindset at the feet of the Father, and to utilize His church and His kingdom for collaboration to learn and then to teach others what we have discovered.
What do we do with our lives?
Let’s step further into the Story together next time.
Raise up the other Story,
Charles Anthony Solorio
Living the right POV with humility, a growth/student mindset, and collaboration make for a great adventure Story.
top photo credit Leo Manjarrez, Unsplash
middle photo credit Kazuo Ota, Unsplash
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