LAIE, Hawaii — Pulling from the wisdom of his six year old grandson, Brother Devin G. Durrant, first counselor in the Sunday School general presidency, implored students at BYU-Hawaii to “embrace each chance to learn and grow” during a campus devotional on Tuesday, Jan. 30.
After being introduced by his wife, Sister Julie Durrant, who accompanied him to the BYU-Hawaii campus, Brother Durrant emphasized the message that President Russell M. Nelson shared during a recent press conference that, “A well educated person never stops learning.” Brother Durrant shared examples from his own life and the scriptures to demonstrate the importance of remaining humble and willing to learn from every opportunity that arises.
He recounted a story of a time when his grandson explained to him the difference between fixed mindsets and growth mindsets. Having learned about the theory of fixed and growth mindsets from his schoolteacher, young Rock Devin, as Brother Durrant refers to him, was eager to share his new knowledge with his grandpa.
In a short video clip, shared by Brother Durrant, Rock Devin explained that a growth mindset is one in which people tell themselves, “I’m going to keep working at this; I’m going to keep trying at this. I can’t give up.” He then explained that a fixed mindset is one in which a person tells themselves, “I give up. I’m not going to do this anymore. It’s way too hard.”
Smiling and pointing at the camera, Rock Devin finished by saying, “So you always want to try growth.”
Following the video, Brother Durrant posed a question to the students. “What is it in your life that you think you can’t do?” he asked.
He then encouraged students to believe in themselves and their ability to change and grow. He said, “With a growth mindset, previously undoables can become doables and unchaneagbles can become changeables.”
Pulling from scriptural examples in which prophets like Nephi, Enoch and Alma were able to learn and grow by humbling themselves, Brother Durrant made it clear that humility is a key element in maintaining a growth mindset. His examples showed how even prophets of the Lord, great men in many instances, were required to humble themselves before the Lord and their circumstances in order to begin to change and become great instruments in the hands of the Lord.
Additionally, Brother Durrant encouraged students to expand their circles of influence, stating that it is easier to love your neighbors if you are actually acquainted with them. He even had the students turn and greet one another to ensure that they were acquainted with those around them.
Emphasizing the influence of the people with whom we associate, Brother Durrant made a subtle change to a commonly used phrase when he said, “It’s not what you know, but who you know that gives your life meaning.”
Throughout his message, Brother Durrant highlighted several word pairs that have had great meaning in his life. Among the word pairs were Friend and Neighbor, Mother and Father, Teacher and Learner, and Growth and Fixed. He explained that words hold great meaning and power and quoted a scripture, which states that words can have a “more powerful effect on the minds of the people than the sword” (Alma 31:5).
Returning to the idea of fixed mindsets, he explained that two words — Fear and Doubt — are particularly troublesome for those who are stuck in a fixed mindset. But he offered encouragement in the face of such words by stating that, “with faith in God, you can do what you currently think you can’t.” He then encouraged the students to “Ask for God’s help and then trust Him.”
Quoting again from the prophet, President Russell M. Nelson, Brother Durrant explained that changing our desires and behaviors is only truly possible through the “healing, cleansing and enabling power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.” He emphatically repeated President Nelson’s sentiments that God loves each of His children and allows them to access the power of the Atonement by keeping His commandments and stressed that, “The gospel of Jesus Christ is a gospel of change!” (“Decisions for Eternity,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2013, 108).
Brother Durrant concluded his remarks by saying, “You can never be sure who might be your next teacher” but one should always “be ready and willing to learn.”