GRIT - Comet Trait of the Month
“Don’t judge me by my successes. Judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.” - Nelson Mandela
Our Comet Trait for the month of January is Grit. At Skyview, we define grit as persevering, even when it is difficult. This is a challenging skill to develop, but I think we would all agree, grit is what separates those who are truly successful from others. We believe it is really important for kids to hear the stories of successful people so they can see that their success was much more than good luck or being the kid with the best grades, or the best home life, or the kid who's parents gave them all the best opportunities early in life. By hearing these stories, kids begin to realize the importance of practice and dedication, and that through mistakes and struggles, we have incredible opportunities to learn. Many kids believe that talent and success is either something you have or something your don't - this is referred to as a fixed mindset. Understanding grit also means you understand that success is not fixed, but is something that can be developed when you have passion, perseverance, and self control.
We will be teaching this trait by reading books, watching videos, having conversations to define and understand more about grit, and by pointing out in class activities and assignments when grit will be a necessary skill for completion. We will spend time talking with kids about the feelings that come up when the are challenged by a classroom task. Many times the feelings associated with grit and perseverance are uncomfortable so kids will give up rather than push through. We believe it is important to let kids know that they will probably feel upset, frustrated, disappointed, etc. during a challenging activity and that is normal. Then we will spend time supporting them so they can develop the skills to continue working to complete the activity successfully. We'll also debrief the experience to help them identify how it feels when they did show grit; feelings like pride, accomplishment, relief, and happiness. Another way we help kids to develop grit is by revising their work. Grit is all about persevering, even after you haven't been successful the first time. We ask students to draft their writing, to correct their mistakes on their assessments, and to try again when they didn't read a word correctly. It can be frustraing, but we learn more through our mistakes than we do through our successes. I love this quote by Malcolm Gladwell: "Practice isn't the thing you do once your good; it's the thing you do that makes you good." Being successful means you know how to keep trying, over and over again, until you get it right or reach your goal.
Here are some other ways you can help teach your child about grit at home:
- Read books about real people who have overcome obstacles and talk about the things that made them successful. Ask them how they thought the person felt on their journey to success. You can also find fiction books with characters who show a great deal of grit. Check out some of the books in these resources:
- Watch and discuss videos or movies about people or characters who show grit and perseverance. One of my favorites is McFarland, USA. Here are some resources with family-friendly movie ideas (or you can search for movies about grit, perseverance, resilience, growth mindset, etc):
- Talk about your own experiences and the experiences of people you know who have demonstrated grit. Share your feelings before, during, and after that experience.
- Try something new, as a family, like a new game or cooking a new recipe, and be really intentional about talking about the feelings that come up while you are learning that activity together. Here are some STEM activities you can do together that will also give kids (and the adults too) a challenge that will teach them to have grit:
Grit is not something people either possess or don't possess; it is something that we develop by engaging in tasks that we are are excited about and want to finish, even if it is hard. This is why sports is often such a great way to build grit. Having experiences we can fall back on in which we have been successful or overcome a challenge is important so we know we can have success, even in areas that are not "fun", with practice, determination, and self-control. We want our kids to leave Skyview knowing they can accomplish whatever they set their minds to and can feel pride from a job done well. We can't wait to hear how you are helping your child develop grit during the month of January.