Grit is in the eye of the beholder

Do you often find yourself talking to your friends about your wacky family?  Do you have a unique uncle or aunt who always wants to tell you the longest story about when he/she and your dad were kids?  Do you have the relative who always stirs up trouble or kills the mood with their controversial comment just when everyone is laughing and having fun?  What about the awesome relative who always has gifts for everyone?  Or my favorite, the family member who just shows up to eat? Hmm, that may be me…

Regardless, do you try to convince your friends that you have the craziest family members when in fact, everyone’s family is crazy, wacky, dysfunctional , impatient,  funny and loving all at the same time and all in their own way?  That’s what makes them a family.  While different and diverse, there is such beauty within a family dynamic because there is a common sense of connectedness.   Often times it’s a beauty and connectedness that only family members can see and appreciate.

The growing Grit Moms family is no different than my own family. There is a sense of connectedness that is focused on cultivating grit for our children.  Since our launch about a month ago, I have had the opportunity to get to know so many people who share and believe in the mission of Grit Moms and who themselves live the Grit Moms mantra every day.   While the definition of grit is consistent; firmness of mind and spirit; unyielding courage in face of hardship; perseverance and passion to achieve long-term goals; it looks different to different people.  All families are different, thus moms are different, and thus kids are different.  The way grit is cultivated within different families is also different and that is so exciting for me to learn.

I love talking to the mom who teaches grit her child through sports and physical fitness, the mom who teaches grit to her child through volunteerism and service, the mom who teaches grit to her children through survivalist training, the mom who teaches grit by encouraging her kids to tell her their one accomplishment of the day no matter how big or small and how they could make the next day even better, and so many more!  When I made a goal to develop this site, I had a vision for what grit would look like for other moms and families but my eyes have been opened wide to so many other new experiences that I would have never discovered had it not been your willingness to share.   That is simply beautiful and we have only just begun.

I bring it back to the mission of Grit Moms: we believe that all children learn differently and are motivated by different things.  As such, we believe there is no silver bullet or cookie cutter way to cultivate grit in our children. To start, we need to recognize what matters to our children, when we should step in and when we should step back. Grit talent takes time and patience to develop and requires continuous effort on both the children and the parents.

Thank you moms for taking the time recognize the unique needs of your children, what drives them and what matters to them.  In doing so, you are cultivating grit talent in them based on what they value which is often times different than what another child values. While the foundation/basis for what grit is remains constant, the lens through which so many of us cultivate and sustain that grit talent can be different.

Below is a great article about Paul Tough’s book, How Children Succeed.  Our Grit Moms Hangout Group guide provides great discussion questions for each chapter of this book.  This is my favorite excerpt from that article and ties in well to this blog:

“’Nobody really has a good answer’ on how to kindle motivation or build grit,’ Eskreis-Winkler said. But some MCPS educators have ideas on how to go about it, and recognize that character development doesn’t happen through afternoons spent in school assemblies.

‘There’s no packaged program to teach character traits that you can just implement,’ said Pyle’s Webster. ‘There’s no one way to do it.’

Instead, we all need to focus on building relationships at home and school that will give our kids the confidence to persevere and take risks.”

For the full article go to: http://www.bethesdamagazine.com/Blogs/Education-Matters/January-February-2013/How-Do-We-Teach-Our-Kids-About-True-Grit/

 

 

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