General Sunday School presidency counselor encourages students to ‘choose a growth mindset’

Written by: 
Dani A. Castro

In a private interview after his Jan. 30 devotional encouraging students to have a growth mindset, Devin G. Durrant, first counselor of the General Sunday School presidency, expounded on his talk “Choosing a Growth Mindset.”


Growth mindset is a style of thinking a person has when they believe they can improve, said Durrant. It’s opposite is fixed mindset, which is a way of thought a person has when they believe their abilities or character are not able to be changed or improved upon.


In the interview, Durrant cautioned students not to fall into a fixed mindset but rather embrace a growth mindset. “The trap we fall into is to simply think, ‘I can’t do that. I can’t date that person. I’m not good enough. I can’t get that job. I’m not qualified.’ Don’t put limits on yourself. I hope students are here at BYUH to change. One of the shining aspects of college is to learn and grow as people.”


Growth can be difficult, and on occasion, someone close may point out and share a criticism. In that situation, Durrant counseled, “Sometimes one of the biggest favors someone can do is chasten us. Chastening can be a positive experience. When confronted with criticism, we should ask ourselves, ‘Is it true?’ If not I shrug it off, but sometimes it can be and I take that to heart. I am grateful for that person who took the time to allow me to change.”


Libby Templeton, a sophomore from Washington studying history education, said she was delighted to hear devotional this week due to the relationship the topic had with a concept she learned from another class. Templeton shared, “My psychology of education class studied growth mindsets last semester, so I was really excited to hear something we talked about in devotional. I think having a growth mindset is really important.”


Durrant had begun the interview discussing word pairs such as “love” and “aloha,” “friend” and “neighbor.” He shared another word pair that applies directly to BYUH students: “teacher” and “learner.” He said, “A good example we can all look to is President Tanner. He is a wonderful teacher because he is a wonderful learner. Often times, we rely on the teacher to help us learn. If we search the scriptures, we will learn that the teacher and the learner are equal.”


Durrant praised BYUH for the wonderful experience he had here. He left an invitation to students to visit the Center for Academic Success. “The planned program they offer there to prepare, engage, and improve is a fantastic way to cultivate a growth mindset. It also offers a good summary of teaching in the Savior’s way.”


Feeling strengthened and motivated from the talk, Kawing Ho, a sophomore from Hong Kong studying general music, said, “At the devotional, I sat with my husband and he encouraged me to follow my dreams and to not hesitate. So I will keep studying what I like working on, which is music.


“I really liked the talk because it was about a growth mindset. Overall, I feel inspired to not make any excuses in life.”


Expressing his love, Durrant ended the interview with a smile. “I’ve loved my time here. I’m impressed by the sincerity of the students. I’ve enjoyed every experience I’ve had with everyone I’ve had the chance to meet.”

Date Published: 
Friday, February 16, 2018
Last Edited: 
Friday, February 16, 2018