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You want a present, peaceful and playful family life? I'm here to help you make that a reality.

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The Best Grit Tip

Recently I devoured Grit by Angela Duckworth.  Read it, go on, or at least watch her Ted talk.

Grit has become a “hype word” in recent years, especially in the parenting media. In a nutshell, gritty people have a passion that they persevere with over a long time, including overcoming obstacles. Gritty people stay the course, and they do so happily. Their fun is in the challenge, not in it’s avoidance.

Grit has been shown to improve people’s lives . Not only are grittier people more successful in the mainstream sense of fame and fortune, they’re also healthier and happier.

None of this makes them better people, of course, and sometimes I shudder at our obsession with the said mainstream success. Because to me, personally, kindness and compassion measure far higher on my goals-for-my-kids list. Nevertheless, couldn’t they potentially be both? Please?

So what’s the bottom line? Well, good news for peaceful parents here, because Angela Duckworth teaches that “wise parenting” is the style that produces the most grit. Wise parents are authoritative (not authoritarian), and simultaneously hold high expectations of their offspring, whilst still offering lots of support. The reason this style produces grittier kids is because children of this parenting style tend to strive to emulate their parents, seeing as their parents have retained their respect and adoration. Thus, gritty parents in this category, will have grittier kids, seeing as they’re more likely to follow suit.

But Angela gives us another “grit tip”. She says the best place to develop grit is in extra-curricular activities, because these are both interesting and challenging. (School, she reasons is challenging but not interesting. Hanging with friends may be interesting, but isn’t challenging. Activities that a kid chooses can be both).

So her approach is this… Choose one hard thing. It can be anything you want (in fact, it must be something you really want, or you’ll never persevere) and stick with it at least until a natural end point. That means the end of the season, the end of the year, or until tuition is paid. This rule makes it impossible to give up just because you had a hard day, but possible to give up when you’re really done and you’re no longer interested.

I found this interesting advice as someone who’s starting their unschooling journey. Because I’m always wondering, if I want my child’s education to be child-led, how do I help them develop follow-through. I thought this approach was a good middle ground. And because unschooling is basically all extra curricular (seeing as there’s no curriculum to begin with), it kind of works out perfectly. I hope.

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