I want my children to be successful, but more than that, I want my kids to change the world. I want them to stand up for what is right when it is hard to do. I want my kids to be worthy of leading others. I want my son and my daughters to live life with passion. To live life fully and overflowing–settling for nothing and settling for no one.
The separation between a history maker and someone that is forgotten is grit. Grit is defined as courage and resolve; strength of character. A lack of grit will cause one person to give up and quit, throwing in the towel when life punches them in the mouth. Anyone that has lived a little while knows that life punches and punches hard.
As dads, I think we want the best for our kids. We want our kids to have grit like Ann Frank, Abraham Lincoln, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Addison, and Winston Churchill just to name a few. All people that we wouldn’t know if they didn’t have grit. As fathers, I think one of the most important attributes we can teach our kids is to have grit. We must do these four things to teach our children to have grit.
Modeling. Our children will learn more from what we do than they will ever learn from what we say. Words are important, but they become worthless when our actions show things that are contrary to what we tell them are important. If we want our kids to have grit, we dads need to show them how it’s done. We need to be the men of grit we hope they become.
Let them fail. It is tempting to jump in and save our kids from all their failures. The reality is there is no better time for your kids to fail then under your watchful eye. You can keep them from catastrophic failure while teaching them to rise again after they fall flat. Letting your children fail early will help them gain the muscle of grit for the bigger failures that are in front of them. Help your children gain the muscle of grit by allowing failure.
Experiment. Challenge and encourage your kids to try new things. Teach them to stretch beyond what they are comfortable with will increase their grit and their gifts. Teaching your kids that failure is just experimenting will create well-rounded adults. Your kids will put falling into a better light, and they will be more likely to continue to try new things as adults. Teaching a lifestyle of experimenting will help your children to grow their whole lives.
Specific Praise. Praising our kids for actions we want to see more of is necessary. We need to praise our children for trying their best. It is easy to praise results, but we need to praise what is behind the results. Did your child falter but kept going? Praise that effort. Praise your children for stepping out and trying something new. Praise them for the swing not whether they got a home run or not. If we only praise results, we can cause kids to stay in the land of familiar. Praise grit to increase it.
Resiliency is not something that will happen overnight, but in time your kids will learn to have grit. Have some grit as a parent and keep on trying. In time, after setbacks and failures, your kids will have guts and resilience. Raise kids to be ready not only for the world but to change it.
Are you teaching your children to have grit?
Photo: Flickr/ Eric Peacock