For the last few weeks I’ve been surrounded by principles. No, I haven’t been walking around with a bunch of adults who run schools around me or principals. I mean principles; a general truth or main way of doing something. I spent some time working with afterschool professionals last week and training them on the “Learning in Afterschool and Summer Principles,” which focus on innovative ways to promote young people’s learning when the school day ends.
The principles don’t just stop there. More and more, I am finding so many instances where I have been applying the Grit Moms guiding principles to situations with my kids AND learning that other moms are applying them as well! Who knew principles could be this exciting!?! Just me I guess.
Take these last few weeks for instance. My son had a project due for school. His dad and I are working hard to get him to focus on the process through which he does his work as opposed to just the end result. As I work with him to guide him on this project and projects in the past, I realize how often I use the Grit Moms guiding principles of – Change, Power, Systems and Relationships/Connections – and how I am seeing him utilize them more. Like for this project, he didn’t have all of the materials he needed. Instead of asking me (again!) to drive him to the store to get bunch of materials that would be costly, he took initiative to find what he could use around the house (Change and Power). He has always had a problem with not organizing his thoughts and thinking through his school projects in steps. He’s a rusher and just wants to finish. So I always tell him, “Now think through things in steps. Ask yourself, ‘What do I need to do before I start this project? What do I first? What are the rest of the steps before I get to the end?’” This is a big challenge for him and true test of patience for me and his dad. He’s starting to make strides towards this more and more which is great (Systems). For instance, he made himself a check list of to dos for his last project. Yes! Finally, he is making more and more connections to what he is learning and how it’s important to him, his family and his community (Relationships/Connections). If anything, this principle is the most important – family, community and our world matter. Parents must build quality and meaningful relationships with their kids because I believe that will give them the confidence to persevere through any obstacle. As we grow increasingly busy with work, activities and any attempts to sleep, this is harder and harder to do. But we have to. Our kids deserve that from us because it matters too much. It’s a matter of principle after all!
Take some time to review the Grit Moms guiding principles below. Please feel free to share with me how you model any or all of these with your kids to promote grit qualities!
Grit Moms guiding principles
Grit moms support four core concepts to help foster the grit qualities in others. We encourage making connections to all of these concepts as you experience various activities and stages of life with your child. We also encourage:
- Change: Our daily lives are affected by change. It’s inevitable. Kids must learn to accept change and adapt to changes that come their way. For some parents that may mean changing perspectives for measuring success by praising effort just as much if not more than achievement. The more comfortable kids are with change, the more they can become adaptable and resourceful. Adaptability and resourcefulness are skills they will need throughout their lives.
- Power: Power can be harnessed and contained. Kids (and adults) experience a variety of different feelings depending on the situation. Kids don’t have the power to control all situations but they do have the power to control how they handle it. They can either get upset and give up on a goal if they experience failure or they can learn from that failure and keep working towards that goal. Kids have the power to give up or to persevere. As parents, we must remind ourselves and our kids of this.
- Systems: Systems are made of parts that make a whole. There is a way of accomplishing things – a system, a path, a process. Ask yourself and your kids, “What are the steps needed to accomplish a particular goal or task?” Talk through those things with your kids. Help prepare them to navigate through the steps needed to accomplish something but in the end let them actually navigate that path on their own. Along the way, continue to show your support for them all the while staying out of the way. This understanding and practice helps reinforce drive and determination.
- Relationships/Connections: Everything is connected. Kids’ attitudes and behavior not only affect them but others. The same is true for parents. But it is also connections that allow others to achieve. For example, we often hear adult share stories like, “If it wasn’t for that teacher who believed in me, I wouldn’t have achieved this.” Relationships are important. We are social beings and need to interact to share ideas and connect. Kids need to understand that what they do and accomplish affects those around them. Achievement should be a form of self-betterment. It should be something that contributes positively to one’s family and society. In the end, achievement should promote harmony for oneself and for all. So kids need an understanding of the importance of family, their community and their world.