Friday, January 30, 2015

Sorta like sand?


 The Te@chthought Blog Challenge for today:

Is ‘grit’ a valid noun?

If you search Amazon these days with GRIT as your keyword, you'll find more than a few offerings dealing with perseverance,  character, resilience, and success.  Oh, and one bag of chicken feed, aka GRIT.    As you continue to scroll past the "How to Teach Grit" , "How to Parent Grit" , "How to Flourish After Learning Grit", and the bag of chicken feed GRIT, the next suggestion is, you guessed it, Mindset, by Carol Dweck. 

There are a few words in the English language that cause a sort of weird distaste in my mouth -- and GRIT is one of them.  Don't get me wrong, I don't disagree with the idea of a growth mindset.  Heck, I've written about it more than once in the last 6 months on this very blog.  Grit makes me think, gritty, and I sort of flash back to riding in the back of a Plymouth in the sixties on vinyl seats, after a day at the beach, still wearing a damp and sandy swimsuit.  Yeah, that's what grit says to my psyche.  

I knew this prompt was coming, as I had scanned the list when it was first posted in December.  I was already tasting authentic sandy balogna sandwiches (get it?) and thinking about the Plymouth in July.  And not with fond memories, necessarily, given those two connections.  So imagine my surprise when Facebook surfing when I discovered this status from a friend:

(Daughter's Name) , ice skating for the first time, having fallen for the 800th time, tears streaming down her face, surprisingly cheerful: I'm successfully failing!!!
(Parents may or may not have read that book about grit.)

Suddenly, my gritty flashback went from the beach to the ice.   I learned to ice skate after a family friend, who also happened to be a Catholic priest, took the family to the ice rink and taught us.  We skated a lot with him, and thinking back, I wonder why I didn't think it was a weird activity.  But all that retrospection distracted me from the post above, and suddenly GRIT became a different memory.

Is GRIT valid?  My sandy buns on vinyl seats have brush burns that say so.  Every kid on wobbly skates falling for the 800th time without tears is proof.  That little discomfort, that bum-on-the-ice while watching someone else spinning the perfect Hamel-Camel, or the discomfort of sand that keeps you squirming on the vinyl seat, is exactly what every kid needs to be motivated to continue.

And while I'm not sure what book was read (or not read) by the ice skater's parents, it certainly seems that it should rank high on the Amazon list as required parental reading.  Imagine if adversity were treated by every learner as something to be celebrated as a success? 

So check out GRIT in your neighborhood bookstore, or elsewhere.  I'm pretty sure the value of Grit is pretty significant, and something that should be owned.  (Making it a noun that seems significantly more valuable than than that aforementioned bag of chicken feed.

1 comment:

  1. You are a gifted teacher, not just a teacher of the gifted!