One of the best tools parents can provide is to help their kids develop grit. The term grit is defined as "courage and resolve; strength of character" and has synonyms such as: courage, bravery, backbone, resolve, determination, tenacity and perseverance. As I reflect on twenty-five years in the field of education, I'm disheartened to see that it seems fewer and fewer kids are developing such strength of character.
Psychologist Angela Lee Duckworth who has studied grit for years says "one characteristic emerges as a significant predictor of success... grit." Duckworth defines grit as "the ability to persevere in pursuing a future goal over a long period of time and not giving up... It is having stamina. It's sticking with your future, day in, day out, not just for the week, not just for the month, but for years and working really hard to make that future a reality. Grit is living life like it's a marathon not a sprint."
Jon Bloom, Chairman of the Board for Desiring God, says, "You won't find the word grit in a credible English translation of the Bible. But it's there nonetheless. The Bible's terms for grit are steadfastness (I Corinthian's 15:58) and endurance (Luke 21:19). Steadfastness is the determination to remain at your post come what may. Endurance is the determination to keep moving toward your desired goal despite external challenges and internal weariness."
Of course, the Bible is full of examples of steadfastness and endurance demonstrated by heroes of the faith like Noah, Moses, Abraham and Sarah and so many others. It's through those examples that we see what Bloom means when he says "Biblical grit is not a genetic trait. It is an acquired character trait. True grit is forged in the fires of adversity."
As parents, one of the most important lessons we will teach our children is to develop the trait of grit! I pray continually for God to provide the wisdom we need to inspire and encourage our kids to have courage and strength of character, at home and in the classroom. Join the conversation. How do you inspire and encourage your children to have endurance and grit in today's world?
Tim Elmore's recent post on the topic (HERE) provides additional insight and perspective.