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Growth vs Development


Growth and development; these little words have been a stalling point for me. About a year ago I was riding in an Uber, where my driver was a retired private school educator, and during our ride we had the most fantastic conversation about the benefits and drawbacks of mass educations systems. Shortly before arriving at my destination, he said something to me that has been a point of much pondering. I have tossed it around in my head. I’ve called in the advisory committee. I’ve weighed countless opinions, and to be honest the jury is still out. He said to me “everyone grows, but not everyone develops.”

I immediately knew that one sentence was more than I could digest in a transient moment, so I pulled out my trusty notes app, and typed it in for further examination. Since then, it has been the thought that fills my head when I let my mind wander, it’s invaded my shower, and my quiet drives. If it were a pebble in the ocean it would be perfectly smooth, as it has spent countless hours being tossed around. Alas, I am not as perfect or powerful as the sea, and I have not yet been able to devise a beautifully smooth and solid stance on this one monumental sentence.

Most of the time, I want to say Big Picture Parenting embraces development. To me, development is what my Uber driver implied; It is more than growth. It is the betterment of oneself, one’s knowledge, values, actions, and words. It is taking what we have and cultivating that into something valuable, something better, something to be passed on to others for them to further develop. To me, development has no end. We as people are constantly developing, and what we create has the potential to be continually developed. Sometimes that development is in the form of an improved version of our original idea, other times it is in the mere fact that our creations give birth to ideas that can also not only grow, but develop in their own right. To me, it is a powerful word, an empowering word, and one that is not often given enough airtime in our own minds.

Then there is growth. The fateful driving conversation implies that growth doesn’t have the same value as development. That growth is merely the process of getting larger. It suggests that it is inevitable that our children will grow. As every parent has reminisced once in their life “they grow too fast”, implies that this growth is something that nature takes in its own hands, with no regard to our desires or readiness.

However, a look in the dictionary suggests otherwise. Growth is maturing. It is progress, it is forward movement. It is not stagnation. Growth is the new “It” word. We hear it all around us; growth mindset, always be willing to grow, grow together. It is surrounded by positivity, images of improvement, and desires to reach our dreams. It is the word that we as a society have accepted to mean that we are striving to be the best version of ourselves.

Even as I write this post, the tug-o-war between the two words rages on in my head. I’ve spent months deciding which one to use as a representation of Big Picture Parenting’s core values. It has slowed me down, been both source and excuse for procrastination, but procrastination is stagnation, and that is not what I want in my life. So for now, I choose growth.

I choose growth because it is what our ears are willing to hear, and I want to provide a message that is accepted and absorbed. Because it’s a short word. This seems like a trivial reason, but to my children who are learning to read it is an enormous obstacle. I choose growth, because Growth Mindset is something that I believe is paramount to the presence of lasting joy. I choose it, because growth in size is something I want for this company. I want to reach the masses, I want to be able to provide positive, uplifting, encouragement to our children and the people impacting their lives.

I want to grow, I want Big Picture Parenting to grow, and I would love nothing more than for you to be willing to grow with us.

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