Growing Up Gritty
Instilling Strength of Character in Children
In the context of behavior, “grit” is defined as “firmness of character; indomitable spirit.” Researcher Angela Duckworth pushed this further to include “perseverance and passion for long-term goals.” It may only be a four-letter word, but grit is definitely a meaningful quality that people have to imbibe, especially during challenging times where many would opt to give up or choose easier paths, abandoning dreams and ambitions.
According to Duckworth, there are five characteristics that help gauge how gritty a person is. There is courage, or one’s ability to manage the fear of failure; conscientiousness, specifically, being achievement-oriented instead of being self-controlled and conventional; endurance, which is manifested in having long-term goals and being able to follow-through with each item in their bucket lists; resilience shown through optimism, confidence, and creativity; and a drive to pursue excellence instead of perfection.
While the world holds an infinite number of opportunities for us to thrive, getting to where we want to go is not always easy. There are seas, mountains, and deserts to cross, but with grit, we can have the strength to withstand different forces that are blocking the way. Thus, it is important to instill this quality in children to better prepare them for their own life journeys. Here are some things that you can do together to build grit and resilience:
- Seek Purpose. Ask your child about what they want to be and hope to achieve in the future. From there, talk to them about what they need to do to get closer to their goals. Work on a dream board project that can concretize these objectives through stunning visuals.
- Learn from Others. Experience is the best teacher, so accompany your child as they pay a visit to people who have achieved success through hard work and perseverance. These role models can serve as a huge inspiration to kids who are starting to form their own ideas around life and career.
- Use Different Resources. Books, the Internet, and other sources of information are great tools in providing your child with more insights on grit. Read classic stories of perseverance and form connections from these stories to aspects of their own life for more relatability.
- Address Obstacles. When you see your kid on the verge of giving up, ask them what part they find the hardest. Figure out the solution together, but let your child take the lead in fixing or overcoming the obstacle that was identified.
- Share Your Passions. Your kids may know of you only as a parent, but showing them that there are other things that you can do can be motivating, too. Allowing them to join you in activities that you are passionate about can introduce them to a hobby that they may learn to love.