Monday, January 14, 2013

Teen Activities: Grit Assessment

By Deborah Pace Rowley
If your kids are on the same schedule as mine, we are now starting second semester. We have learned the grades each child got first semester (some good, some bad, some ugly!) and we are now faced with the daunting task of starting again with renewed resolve to do better and to learn from our past mistakes.

Much of the reading that I have done lately has had to do with the importance of teaching our children how to have "grit". "Grit" is that difficult to define quality of tenacity, strength, courage, and the unwillingness to give up. Grit doesn't whine, cry or run in a corner at the first sign of difficulty. Grit doesn't accept failure. Grit doesn't give in or give up even when the going gets tough. How do we teach this super important quality to our kids?
(Although Mattie demonstrated amazing tenacity, the new True Grit just wasn't my favorite movie.
Was this because no one could ever replace John Wayne as the indefatigable Rooster Cogburn? Get your kids to look up that word!)

The first step can be in determining how much of that quality our kids currently possess. How resilient are they? How willing are they to try a second or even a third time if the first time they come up short? I came across this grit assessment with my daughter Natalie. She used this assessment in a science project and studied if a high score on the grit assessment translated to high grades and overall satisfaction with school. In her limited scientific survey, they correlated perfectly!

You can find the Grit Assessment and instructions for scoring here:

You may want to use it with your teenagers and your elementary school age kids as part of a family night or dinner time discussion. You can teach your kids how important this quality is to succeed in life and share your experiences when you kept going and didn't give up even when you wanted to. Inspire your kids with stories of heroes who demonstrate this quality of grit and determination. How about Nelson Mandela? Or Winston Churchill? Do your daughters know the story of Joan of Arc? 

I love using these TED talks in my classroom. They would be fantastic to show your kids during a conversation on grit. Each of these woman refused to give up when they were faced with daunting obstacles, instead they turned a tragedy into a triumph because they refused to give up. 
Amy Purdy lost her legs as a result of a bacterial infection. She became a world champion snowboarder. You will be amazed at all the positive things she discovered about being a quadriplegic. 

Janine Shepherd had a devastating bicycling accident. She lost her dream of being an Olympic skier but became an accomplished trick pilot instead.

This last video is about Jarem Frye who lost one of his legs due to cancer as a teenager. You and your kids will be amazed at the things he is able to do with the artificial limbs that he invented. 

Good luck teaching the quality of grit to your children! 

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1 comment:

  1. Is there a scale to the scale? I see how to calculate it, but don't get a read on what to do based on your number e.g. perfect score = easy tiger, it's ok to lose sometimes, less than X = maybe it's time to buckle down, less than X - = In the world of fight or flight, your mostly flying.


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