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by Yvett Trejo

Grit is not giving up or giving in. Grit is to follow your dreams despite obstacles, until they come true. Nowadays, our children live a life that’s regularly punctuated by grades, scores, and how talented they are. Expectations are somewhat above what human beings can possibly achieve. But talent alone will not actually make your dreams come true. Grit turns dreams into a reality.

As an educational community, our job is to foster in our students and children the ability to succeed, overcome obstacles, and teach them how not to take “no” for an answer when it comes to pursuing their dreams.

The University of Pennsylvania psychologist and author, Angela Duckworth, defines grit as “perseverance and passion for long-term goals”. In other words, the key to success and happiness is the ability to commit to a goal, work hard, endure struggle, fail, and try again. Is it easy to develop grit in our kids? It’s not, but it’s definitely worth it. It’s telling them, “Yes, you can!”, “Be who you want to be!”, “Do what you love to do!”. If we want our students to be open minded and global leaders, it is crucial to help them find a motivation and develop a solid work ethic in order to be successful and improve their life-long learning outcomes.

The big question is, how do we help our students and children become gritty? First, we must be supportive and gentle through the process. Help them find a passion. For little kids, finding a passion could be major league talk. Help them find an engaging activity; commit to something and work hard. Help them understand that improvement does not come without effort. Secondly, recognize that confusion, frustration, and practice are part of the course. Acknowledging feelings empowers them to build resilience. Thirdly, be risk-takers. Make them feel safe enough to step out of their comfort zone. At the end of the day, failure is not permanent, it’s just a lesson. There’s always plan B or C. Last, but not least, a great way to develop grit in our kids is to talk to them about our own attempts, failures, and feelings, and how to respond to challenge through a growth mindset.

Encourage yourself and your kids through this three-word motto: Follow your passion. Even if the road gets tough, teach them that if they fall three times, they must rise four.