As a teacher I hear it all the time. I can’t do times tables. I can’t do long jump. My son isn’t good at reading. And you know what? As a teacher, my response is… Yet.
Yet is a powerful word.
You can’t do times tables… yet. You can’t do long jump… yet. Your son isn’t good at reading… yet.
Such a small, insignificant word.
The power of yet is amazing
As a teacher, it’s significance is huge. The power of yet cannot be underestimated.
It’s the Kindergarten child who walks into the classroom, expecting that they will walk out a reader on their first day. (Didn’t you tell your kids? “When you go to big school, you will learn how to read!” So they all walk in on that first day expecting to walk out reading War and Peace!) Of course, when the tears fall at the end of the first day because they can’t read, my response is always, “You can’t read… yet.”
It’s the child in my choir, who hasn’t mastered the harmony that she needs to learn before the Creative Arts Night. It’s hard to sing something completely different to the person standing next to you! You haven’t mastered the harmony… yet.
And now it’s my daughter. Twelve years old, sitting her Inter Foundation Classical Ballet exam in eight weeks and freaking out because she can’t do double pirouettes. After every class, she climbs into the car, happy with class, disappointed in herself because she can’t do double pirouettes.
No gorgeous girl, you can’t do double pirouettes… yet.
It will come.
Grit is Yet’s best-friend
Carol Dweck’s TED Talk about giving kids a grade of “Not Yet” highlights the way that the power of yet can put kids on a learning curve, rather than a defeatist one.
“Just the words “yet” or “not yet,” we’re finding, give kids greater confidence, give them a path into the future that creates greater persistence,” Dweck says.
‘Yet’ is the difference between developing a growth mindset, or a closed one. Between developing determination, or expectation.
Work hard. Listen to your teacher. Learn from your mistakes. Persevere.
The power of this little word is phenomenal.
The word ‘yet’ changes the new mother who is struggling in the crazy newborn haze, the lack of a sleeping routine, into a mum who can see the light at the end of the tunnel.
The word ‘yet’ changes the child who is struggling to master long division into a child who knows that if he works hard enough, he will get it. (It’s okay kid, no one ever got long division the first time round.)
Hope is Yet’s other bestie
And the word ‘yet’ gives hope to the 12-year-old girl, who is trying her hardest to prepare for her ballet exam. Hope that bit-by-bit she will master the steps, so when she walks into that exam room, she feels ready and confident.
So, no, beautiful girl.
You can’t do double pirouettes… yet.
Does ‘yet’ feature a lot in your talks with your kids?
Photo by Caleb Woods