True Grit

As a child I jumped between extracurricular activities. I tried several different activities that usually only lasted a year or two before I quit. I wasn’t graceful enough for figure skating or ballet, my sense of rhythm was sorely lacking for jazz, and soccer required too much running. 

As an adult I recognize how much I missed out by not following through with some of those extracurricular activities. I want to protect my daughter from the same mistakes I made. I now know that there were several sports I was pretty good at, and if I had stuck with something earlier, I may have had more transferrable skills, and reaped the intrinsic rewards.

My daughter is truly a chip off the ole block. She is not an activity child. Her willingness to quit is now becoming more evident in every aspect of her life. So I’m digging in my heels and trying to build grit in my daughter. Grit nurtures self-confidence, willpower, and discipline. It is an indicator of healthy development. Here’s how we’re going to grow grit:

  • Do what you love, love what you do – After listing all the things she loves, we identify several activities that align for her to choose from.
  • Goals are dreams with deadlines – Set short-term, attainable goals and expectations where she can focus her attention, work harder and develop strategic thinking. 
  • Work not wish – Instill a growth mind-set through role-modeling perseverance, highlighting the efforts of heroes, and that you get what you work for, not what you wish for.
  • Praise the process, not the child – By emphasizing the lessons learned in setbacks we will build character and provide learning opportunities.
  • When you visualize, you materialize – Activate her imagination to visualize the possibilities and manifest her goals.
  • Celebrate the wins – Remember that success is a series of small victories, and the celebration should be part of the motivation.

Like most parents, I want my daughter to be successful by her measure in whatever it is she does. For her to succeed she must first learn that success is not spontaneous, it takes failure, commitment, determination and true grit.


Janet Smith is a proud single-mom of one daughter and a marketing professional who is grateful for her rural roots in the London area. She is a big believer in connecting with people through laughter and honesty.


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