• Teenisha Garcia

Why we need to help our kids to develop grit.

As parents, guardians and educators, it is our duty to provide our children with the tools that they need to thrive in the real world. Yes, this means that we ensure that they go through some sort of schooling. But beyond that, if our aim is to truly prepare our kids for their adult lives, then we ought to be cultivating crucial character traits that will help them to navigate a very unpredictable, ever-changing, and sometimes scary world.

We tell our kids that the world is theirs for the taking, to aim for the stars and that they can accomplish anything they put their minds to. Indeed, all of this is true. But how do we prepare them for the many curve-balls and unexpected twists and turns that happen as you pursue your goals and dreams. Well, we help them to develop grit.

According to Dr. Angela Duckworth, grit is a combination of passion and perseverance for a singularly important goal. Watch Dr. Duckworth's famous TED Talk for a thought-provoking, very inspiring presentation on how her research has led her to believe that outstanding achievement is not due to having talent but more so to having grit. I also highly recommend reading Dr. Angela Ducworth's book, Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance.

Grit is a common trait among the top performing people in any field. And isn't that what we all want for our kids - for them to be top performing in any path that they choose. Furthermore, research has shown that grittier kids attain much higher levels of success both in and out of school. The good news is that grit can be built, but we are still all trying to figure out exactly how to do it. And perhaps, like everything else, building grit will be different for every child based on their unique learning needs and type of intelligence.

Even better news is that great parents and educators, like Lee David Daniels, are there to help us as we all try to make our kids gritty. He has raised some interesting points in his book entitled: Grit For Kids - 16 Top Steps For Developing Grit, Passion, Willpower, and Perseverance In Kids For Self-Confidence And A Successful Life. In this book, Mr. Daniels takes us through the steps by using real-world examples and providing us with exercises that we can do to accomplish the overall goals. Here are the steps that he outlined:

  1. Encourage Passion

  2. Teach Self-Control

  3. Downplay Negativity

  4. Teach Self-Respect

  5. Teach Respect for Others

  6. Encourage Curiosity

  7. Figure Out Who They Really Are

  8. Make a Plan

  9. Follow the Process

  10. Celebrate Little Wins

  11. Teach to Expect Setbacks

  12. Get Them to Apply Lessons

  13. Guide in Decision Making

  14. Stick to What's Really Important

  15. Show Them How You Do It

  16. Take Care of Their Health

To make education relevant to our kids' current and future needs, we need to commit to providing them with rich experiences that strengthen their character. When our children are out in the real world, little that they do will depend on recalling Pythagoras' Theorem or naming the parts of a flower. But much of their success and happiness will depend on whether they are able to persevere against all odds as they try to find their places in the world. And this is exactly why we need to help our kids to develop grit - that powerful combination of passion and perseverance.

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