October 06, 2015
Relentless. Persistent. Dogged determination. Never quitting even when it hurts. These phrases define one word. A word that builds character, maximizes potential, strengthens society, and shows us things about ourselves that we might not have known was there. This word, this very powerful word, is GRIT!
In the very famous children’s story, “The Little Engine That Could,” the engine faced with the task of carrying train cars full of toys over a very steep mountain to children anxiously waiting on the other side, made it to the top by willing himself to it. We all know those famous words (say them aloud), “I think I can. I think I can. I think I can.” Now, do any of you remember what the little engine on the other side of the mountain? It said, “I thought I could. I thought I could. I thought I could.” Why could he? Simple…he had grit.
Throughout history some of our most famous heroes became heroes because they demonstrated grit. Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa, Gandhi, Abraham Lincoln. Today, we look at these “giants” in history and admire them for the ways in which their lives changed lives. But, each of them weren’t born with the “grit gene.” It is something that had to grow inside them. This is good news for each of us. See, grit IS something everyone can develop, the bad news is there is an enemy to grit and that is ease. Developing grit demands difficulty. In order to grow grit inside of us, we must assign ourselves to difficult and challenging tasks; and in the midst of setbacks and failures, will ourselves to the task’s completion.
We want to develop grittiness in our kids because we know that gritty kids are unstoppable! Gritty kids, like the “giants” of history, will stop at nothing to accomplish what they set out to do. They view obstacles as opportunities. They are not ones to “kind of want to do” something…they are all in. They play the game of life “hurt,” but will their way back up. They learn that their grit grows with every successful trip on the other side of the mountain. Rising from struggles is their clearest path to a wholehearted, rewarding, well-lived life.
May we teach them to say, “I think I can,” up the mountains of life and celebrate with them on the other side as we hear them proudly say, “I though I could.”
- submitted by a school leader