NDSU Extension Service - Sargent County

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Look Mom! I Did It Myself!

Look Mom I Did It Myself!Have you ever had the opportunity to be present when another person, of any age, is caught up in the moment of experiencing a sense of accomplishment for something they have achieved?  Whether they learned to ride a bike, write their name, color a picture, create a chart or spreadsheet, or passed a test, made a touchdown, finished a marathon, got a job, saved enough money to buy something big, lost the weight they’ve been struggling to lose, or achieved any other goal they set for themselves, it is an exciting moment and an energy-filled experience!  But why?  In part, it may be because they are experiencing mastery.

 

 

Having the opportunity to develop and experience mastery has been identified as one of several “essential elements” that support and promote positive youth development.  From my own observations, it seems to be a positive not just for youth, but for people of all ages.  

Mastery is building knowledge, skills and attitudes, and then reaching a goal and demonstrating the competent use of the knowledge and skills in a proficient manner. Mastery is related to self-efficacy, which is a belief that one can succeed.

How a person approaches goals, tasks, and challenges is greatly influenced by a person’s sense of mastery and self-efficacy. 

Mastery applies to the social, academic, physical, artistic/musical, and vocational arenas of life.  Social competence involves interpersonal skills such as communication or conflict resolution. Some examples of academic competence are school grades, attendance and test scores.

When a person is physically active or inclined, such as a dancer or skilled athlete, they are demonstrating physical mastery. Artistic/musical mastery can be shown through a musical performance, and vocational mastery includes work habits and exploration of careers.

The level of mastery is dependent on the person’s developmental ability.

To support mastery in youth, peers, co-workers, employees, and people of all ages:

            * Help them establish realistic, challenging and achievable goals.

            * Provide opportunities for them to practice and demonstrate their skills to others.

            * Allow time for them to reflect on their accomplishments, setbacks, growth and pride. 

            * Plan developmentally appropriate activities and accommodate diverse learning styles.

            * Provide training and opportunities for them to serve as teachers of others

            * Keep the focus on self-improvement rather than comparing themselves to others

Mastery is recognized through ribbons, achievement badges, sports letters, certificates, scholarships, plaques and privileged parking spaces.  These are symbols of the time, skill, commitment and endurance required for true mastery. 

In the long term, the biggest perk is for the person to know inside themselves that they completed a task and did it well, and that in the future, they’ll succeed at other tasks.

Sources: Essential Elements Curriculum, Dean Aakre, Katie Lefor
Photo Credit:   https://pixabay.com/static/uploads/photo/2015/01/08/18/24/children-593313_960_720.jpg
(downloaded 1-19-16)

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