As Canada celebrated 150 years as a country, it became very clear that not everyone believed the festivities were justified. While some may have found these actions unpatriotic, our willingness to examine weaknesses is actually one of the keys to our greatness.
In her classic book MINDSET, psychologist Carol Dweck explains how a person with a “growth mindset” knows that their talents are just the starting point. Ability develops through dedication and hard work. As a result, life and learning become exciting adventures.
Perhaps the same can be said for countries. In celebrating our history, we not only recognize our accomplishments, we acknowledge our challenges. If we can work together to overcome these, our future becomes a growth filled journey.
In a UNICEF study of children in the Developed World, Canada ranked only 25th out of 41 countries.
We are far behind countries like Norway and Germany, and even behind several countries which have emerged from behind the Iron Curtain. The conditions for our Aboriginal children especially are simply unacceptable.
How does a nation with a growth mindset respond to these facts? We seek improvement.
This is achieved by holding our elected officials accountable. It is also vital that those of us in positions of service become mindful of our own prejudices, and treat each person we work with like the most important person in the world.
Yes, Canada is a great country. What makes us great, however, is our willingness to look honestly at the needs around us and to respond in creative and effective ways.
With this growth mindset, our country will continue to thrive as we move into an uncharted and exciting future.