Is good old-fashioned grit the missing ingredient in today’s youth?
Yes it is, according to a report on today’s National Public Radio’s Morning Edition.
In a segment titled, “Does Teaching Kids To Get ‘Gritty’ Help Them Get Ahead?” reporter Tovia Smith says, “Around the nation, schools are beginning to see grit as key to students’ success — and just as important to teach as reading and math.”
In the interview, Angela Duckworth, a psychology professor at the University of Pennsylvania, says, “This quality of being able to sustain your passions, and also work really hard at them, over really disappointingly long periods of time, that’s grit. It’s a very, I think, American idea in some ways — really pursuing something against all odds.”
Reporter Smith adds, “Experts define grit as persistence, determination and resilience; it’s that je ne sais quoi that drives one kid to practice trumpet or study Spanish for hours — or years — on end, while another quits after the first setback.” Then the reporter asks: Can grit be taught?
According to author Grant Overstake, the answer to that question can be found in a sport where youngsters are learning to face their fears, overcome obstacles, and triumph over gravity.
“I think pole-vaulting is one of the greatest ways for a young person to develop grit,” Overstake says, “because it takes tremendous courage and self-will to keep going higher and higher over a rising crossbar. Grit is a great word to describe what all great and future great pole-vaulters have in abundance.”