My kids do not have grit, at least not yet.
They are sheltered and privileged and don’t come across many challenging moments in life. Especially now when most group activities and sport teams are on pause here in California due to Covid.
But I’ve been trying to teach them to set goals and follow through with their actions. To not avoid the tough stuff and to keep their commitments. To strive to be better and to not falter when failure inevitably happens.
How to get started
To help me guide their journey, I just finished reading Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth, I signed up for Character LAB’s weekly tips, I’m currently taking the Science of Well-Being class on Coursera, I’ve been listening to The Happiness Lab podcast hosted by Dr. Laurie Santos, and I read How Kids Learn Resilience by Paul Tough. I highly recommend all of these whether you have kids or not. Growth is an important aspect of living a fulfilled and happy life.
Six ideas to implement today
Develop a purpose
It will most likely take some time to help our kids discover their purpose. I mean, heck, I’m not sure if I even know what my purpose in life is since raising kids is just a short period of time. But setting long term goals and looking at how they relate may help with developing a purpose for ourselves. With kids, I believe that developing year-long goals can help them discover their purpose later in life as their interests develop.
Do One hard thing a year
We have to be totally honest with ourselves and admit that the ability to homeschool our kids is a privilege, and privileged lives are often sheltered lives. It’s important for us to allow our children to tackle one hard, yet interesting task each year and see it through to the end. This can be music, art, sports, coding, writing a novel, or whatever else your kid wants to do that is a bit of a challenge.
Tagging onto the above, it’s important for kids to follow through on their commitments no matter how hard it gets. At the end of their “one hard thing” a year they should then have the option to drop it and do something else. I mean, how else will they develop character if we let them drop a sport because it’s getting too hard after the first few practices?
Make a legitimate effort
You can’t do the work without DOING THE WORK! I feel like it’s human nature to take the easiest route possible, but in order to be really good at something you need to put in maximum effort. To me this means making time to practice and developing routines.
“Hoping for the best, prepared for the worst, and unsurprised by anything in between.” – Maya Angelou
Thinking positive isn’t the best way to overcome challenges. Instead, being mentally prepared for whatever obstacles that may get in the way actually helps. Season 1, Episode 7 of The Happiness Lab goes into more details if you’re intrigued about perseverance.
Most likely this is something I’m already doing as a homeschool mom, but it’s a good reminder either way. Duckworth noted that wise parents are both supportive and authoritative.
When I think back to some of my best students, no matter their socioeconomic background, they had parents that were actively involved. Not in the helicopter parenting way. No those kids were always entitled and often had discipline issues. I’m talking about the parents that would take their kids to the library or museums or to concerts they had absolutely no interest in or find a way to help fund the jazz camp their child REALLY wants to go to or forgo dreams of early retirement to pay for their child’s horseback riding passion. Yet, they didn’t just help create a space for their children’s passion to blossom, they also had high expectations of their kids and expected them to follow through with their commitments. When I think about it, these parents were gritty themselves.
How do you help your kids develop grit?
Xuan Klevecka is a Southern California-based homeschool mom, wife, and sometimes purveyor of vintage goods. She’s an Enneagram 5, a lover of good food, and a former middle school history teacher. You’ll either find her looking at road maps and day dreaming about her family’s next epic adventure or perusing recipes and cooking up a feast for the brood.