Last month, I read Grit by Angela Duckworth. She discussed in detail different aspects of Grit. “Parenting for Grit” got my attention. One important goal in my life is to help my kids to be successful. I have no argument that grit is an important quality, I like my kids to develop.
Dr. Duckworth claims that extracurricular activities improve grit qualities in kids. Her argument goes as follows,
- School work is challenging but it is not fun for most kids, therefore kids are not motivated.
- Hanging out with friends is fun but not challenging, therefore no opportunities to push boundaries.
- Doing sports/extracurricular activities, is fun and challenging. It gives an opportunity to push to next level.
I agree with her findings. We have tried to implement with our kids even before reading this book.
For the most of the time, We have given my seven year old son (Ahas) to pick what sports or activities he wants to do. Sometimes we don’t give him that option. For example, we believe that swimming is valuable skill to learn. Therefore we signed him up to learn swimming. If he does not like swimming he can quit, first he has to show us that he can swim few laps on his own.
For the sports he likes to participate, we let him know that we are paying to sign him up. We set expectation to give his best in practice and games, attend until the season is over. Ahas has participated in baseball, basketball, flag football, wrestling, taekwondo and soccer last few years. One thing is evident, sports are challenging and pushing him to reach to next level.
As parents, our responsibility to make sure that our kids show up for practice and games. Beyond that we let them control how do they want to participate.
Also, as discussed in the book. As our kids grow older (high school). We like to implement “Hard thing” process. Where they pick one or two hard thing to practice every day. They can try out for one season before committing. Once committed, We expect them to stay with it for a year before considering any other options.
Overall, I liked this book, Grit by Angela Duckworth. Also, my opinion is that she consolidated research in different areas such as growth mindset and deliberate practice like ingredients in a pizza dough. I believe she succeeded in creating a great pizza.