Boy with grit


“If you are not having any problems, you are missing an opportunity for growth.”
~ Thomas Blandi

There has been a lot in the news lately about grit. An article in the Wall Street Journal (September 8 – 9, 2012: Opting Out of the ‘Rug Rat Race’) says “for long-term success, brain power helps, but what our kids really need to learn is grit.”

NBC ran a series on the Education National Summit; two educational leaders interviewed thought teaching the virtue of grit was as important as teaching anything else in their schools.

But what is grit? One definition I found said simply: “firmness of character; indomitable spirit; pluck.” Pluck – what a great word. Imagine if your child had ‘pluck.’ Would you be proud of this? Would you be as proud as you would of a report card that had straight A’s?

Grit is what a child will learn when we Allow Obstacles to Become Opportunities. This is the Biggest Job’s Priority #6. In our current ‘trophy generation’ where the philosophy is that every child should get a trophy, those parents who believe that it’s okay for their kids to struggle are few and far between. But it’s our struggles that make us stronger; it’s our struggles that set up the lessons we need to learn in life – lessons that will teach us more about ourselves than anything else if we, the adults in the kids’ lives, help them learn from their struggles.

It’s a natural instinct to want to remove obstacles from our children’s lives and to make life easier for them. Give as much opportunity to them as you can to face their own dilemmas and work out the solutions. This will help them gain grit, that quality that teaches them persistence and resilience, and will ultimately improve their academic performance.