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Grit

Picture the person you might think of as stubborn, obstinate, uncompromising, adamant, hard-headed, insistent or unrelenting. Do you have someone in mind? Now think about a person who you would call determined, unwavering, strong-minded, gritty, persistent, firm, steadfast, resolute or persevering. What about now? Do you have someone in mind?

Grit Snail imageThe first set of words has more of a negative connotation. The second set of words is more positive, but both sets could refer to the same person. When your middle school student adamantly refuses to take his or her turn at bat during the family reunion softball game and leaves the field, you see the stubborn, obstinate side of your child. When the same child sits in his or her room practicing his or her violin every night for months on end until you think you are listening to a professional recording, we say that child has determination or persistence, even grit.

Persistence, or grit as many are calling it, has been getting a lot of attention recently. No matter the term, we really are talking about working hard and sticking with it to reach a goal. Researchers are referring to people who have the willingness to set a goal and work during a long period of time to achieve that goal. They also are discovering that practice, practice and more practice is, indeed, what eventually sets these gritty people apart from others. Natural talent is being looked at with a skeptical eye, while hard work and stick-to-itiveness are taking the driver’s seat.

According to psychologist Angela Lee Duckworth, one way to help our children develop grit is to introduce them to a growth mindset so they see that “failure is not a permanent condition” and the children are encouraged to have a try, try again attitude. To find more information on mindsets, grit and developing persistence in your children, look up the helpful resources listed here.

Kent Pekel, Search Institute:  http://www.achievempls.org/get-involved/attend-event/edtalks/edtalks-video-kent-pekel-perseverance-process

Carol S. Dweck  http://www.educationworld.com/a_issues/chat/chat010.shtml

 

 

 

 

 

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