As grandparents now for almost four years, we have started to look more closely at the impact of adult communication on children. Researcher Angela Duckworth, a MacArthur Genius Award recipient who operates the Duckworth Lab at the University of Pennsylvania, caught our attention in her identification of teaching "grit" as a key to laying the groundwork for success.
Grit means a growth mindset where failing is never seen as a permanent condition; where setbacks do not lead to disappointment, and where pushing yourself farther than you thought possible is a life pattern that leads to finishing what we begin. So, it's not about telling our children that they are "smart" or "good at" certain things. Instead, notice their effort and acknowledge the small steps they take that add up to any specific accomplishment.
BTW, if you are interested in determining your own grit score, click here: “Get Your Grit Score.”
Please share your thoughts: Do you have suggestions for getting your children to persevere toward long term goals, even when they face setbacks? Share your responses here.
Bobbi L. Kamil
2/11/2014 02:21:39 am
For many years I taught little ones (3-6) to ski. It is a world full of stumbles and tumbles, but also includes lots of successes, if you can keep them at it. Tumbles were rewarded by a big hug, a dust off and a "OK tiger go get"em! Success was rewarded by the chance to shoot between my legs or a minute when the others in the class applauded you new skill or a myriad of other rewards--including M&Ms! I made it a game, but it was a game that required perseverance and little time for tears.
Ok, as a Mom of four, grandmother of eight, and great-grandmother of three -
2/11/2014 07:48:11 am
hank you for this inspirational post. Today was Success Day at my institution. One presentation was given by a group of students who had recently attended a regional diversity workshop. One of the leaders of the group said something much like this concept of grit when he was discussing what he learned about leadership. The love and camaraderie among the students was so palpable I got teary eyed.
2/11/2014 09:28:56 am
Tanks Bobbi, I like your ideas. My sharing is not really the practical advice asked for in the question but none the less highlighting the importance of attitude of mind. I started my career life as a Home Economics teacher, often working with children who were not particularly motivated to learn. My mantra was "everyone has potential" and it is about "providing opportunities to excite the learner and enable this potential to emerge". I still use this mantra in my work place today where I am truly privileged to work with a team of inspiring people. A quote by Jacob Bronowski is a favourite "It is important that students bring a certain ragamuffin, barefoot irreverance to their studies; thay are not here to worship what is know but to question it. Supporting and encouraging people to ask the right questions and explore the options and solutions that may provide answers (more often lead to more questions) is exciting. Toffler said we need to "learn, unlearn and relearn" and I agree. Mistakes are part of the process and we need to master the art of learning from these, as this is when real growth is measurable.
Susan and Peter
2/11/2014 04:55:20 pm
Thanks all. How interesting that the notion of grit and perseverance is not just about kids -- but a life long pursuit. Grateful for your insights and experiences.
3/19/2014 04:52:13 am
Check out this NPR report on the topic: http://www.npr.org/2014/03/17/290894364/on-the-syllabus-lessons-in-grit
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