Grit. Sticktuitiveness. Perseverance. Diligence. Whatever you call it, kids need it more than ever to overcome the inevitable challenges that life will throw their way.
Why is Grit so important?
When psychologist Angela Duckworth (https://www.ted.com/speakers/angela_lee_duckworth) studied people in various challenging situations, including National Spelling Bee participants, rookie teachers in tough neighborhoods, and West Point cadets, she found that using the Grit Scale (https://angeladuckworth.com/grit-scale/) that Duckworth developed with Chris Peterson, showed that Grit is a better indicator of GPA and graduation rates. (IQ, however, is very predictive of standardized test scores.)
Using the Grit Scale, research finds that Grit is a better indicator of GPA and of graduation rates!
Can Grit be developed? Yes!
As parents and teachers, we can encourage and develop Grit by:
> Reading books to kids about Grit
> Talking about and modeling Grit
> Helping kids develop a growth mindset
> Recognizing that difficulties and set-backs are a way of life
> Reframing problems as challenges to be overcome
> Helping kids develop intentional habits
Never mistake engaging, fun or even interesting for easy. We don’t jump up and down when we turn a page in a book because “I did it.” No one celebrates easy, but everyone celebrates championships and winners because those take grit (and more). We need more circumstances to help kids to develop grit before they can “have it.” Academic requirements, sports (team and individual), group activities (scouts, church projects), setting academic goals are all examples of developing grit.
Book reading list:
The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires
How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity and the Hidden Power of Character by Paul Tough
David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits and the Art of Battling Giants by Malcom Gladwell
The Grit Book: A Little Story About Not Giving Up by Liz Fletcher
Sam and Dave Dig a Hole by Mac Barnett
Akiak by Robert Blake
Salt In His Shoes by Deloris Jordan
The Girl Who Ran by Frances Poletti