Wondering the trick to raising kids with grit? And what is grit anyways? We’re teaching grit to our kids using these five crucial family mottoes. Are you?
Grit. It’s one of those buzz words of the moment, and we’re constantly told that we need to raise kids with grit. But what does it mean when you say someone has grit? And how do we teach kids grit- something that seems so intangible?
If you haven’t heard of “grit” yet, it’s an old word that’s making a BIG comeback. The term describes someone with strong character, courage, and resolve. When you say that someone has grit, it means that they have the capacity to overcome challenges, to keep going when things get hard, and to keep pushing to meet their goals.
So what IS grit? According to a recent Forbes article, the five characteristics of grit are resilience, tenacity, conscientiousness, endurance, and being achievement and excellence oriented.
Now, who WOULDN’T want that for their kids?
But it’s a little harder to teach grit to kids than other topics we usually cover with them. It’s not something that can be covered during storytime. It’s not a lesson we can complete and then mark off our lists.
Teaching grit means consistently emphasizing those crucial traits, over and over again, in a way that shows kids how important they are.
In our family, that boils down to a few family mottoes. We repeat these mottoes again and again. And though my kids are still little- age six and three- we’re starting to hear these phrases coming out of their mouths more and more. With any luck- and a LOT of repetition- these ideas will stick, and become a part of their character throughout the years.
So if you’re wondering how to raise kids with grit, we’ve got five family mottoes for you to start using to help you teach grit to kids- and to change your family culture in the process.
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We Don’t Quit
When it boils down to it, raising kids with grit means teaching them to follow through, even when things get hard. We don’t let ourselves- or others- down just because we changed our mind.
If we say we’re going to do something- we do it.
But quitting doesn’t mean you’re stuck in that dead-end job forever. It doesn’t mean that you have to take ballet classes until you graduate. “Not quitting” means that you follow through on promises you’ve made, and that you don’t leave others in the lurch.
And while Torrezes don’t quit- they do sometimes resign after careful consideration. You don’t have to do something forever. You just have to see it through to a natural conclusion, be clear and considerate with your decision, and make a graceful exit.
We Do What We Came Here to Do
I love the flexibility of this family motto. It keeps my kids focused on school while they are there. It keeps them off of their electronics when they’re bored at a family get together. It helps them to keep pushing even when things are hard, like when they think they’re going to love bowling but are actually terrible at it.
We do what we came here to do.
With a simple saying, we teach our kids to be present. We teach them to follow through. We teach them to keep chasing their goals- not only to chase them, but to accomplish them, to the very best of their ability.
We Finish What We Start
Whether it applies to a game of Monopoly or seeing through on that eight week ballet series they BEGGED to sign up for but now hate, this family motto teaches kids the importance of endurance and tenacity. When we start something, we finish it.
It teaches my kids the importance of doing what you say you’re going to. It reminds them the importance of sticking with your commitments, both big and small.
And, if we’re being honest, it can sometimes be used to get them to clean up the Legos they just HAD to dump out all over the floor. If they choose to take on a project, they need to see it through to the end.
Over time, we’ve also found that consistently asking our kids to finish what they start has taught them to choose the ways they spend their time wisely. They’re more likely to say no to activities that they’re not sure they will like, or to find a shorter activity to do when they’re running low on time.
And I don’t know about you, but I’ve spent most of my adult life trying to figure out how to say “no” to people, jobs, and activities that don’t serve me. Imagine if someone had shown you how to properly edit your time before you were in over your head as adult. What a gift to our kids that would be.
We Stand On Our Own Two Feet
Back before we ever had kids, my husband and I decided that we wanted to have a family motto. We wanted to have a saying that we repeated again and again to our kids. We wanted something that we could say often enough that it would just become a part of who they are.
After much debate, we settled on “Torrezes Stand On Their Own Two Feet.”
It encapsulates so much that helps to teach kids grit. To us, it means that you’re in charge of your own destiny. That you’re responsible for handling your own problems. That at the end of the day, your life is up to you and that it’s your job to make the most of it.
It also comes in handy when someone is begging to be carried while we’re in a long line somewhere. I’m just saying.
We Can Find a Way
One of the best gifts my parents ever gave me was teaching me lessons of resourcefullness through my childhood. When something got hard, my mom wouldn’t rush in with a solution right away. Instead, she would model her thinking aloud. “How can we fix this? Who do we know that can help us? What can we do instead that will still work?”
And every time I would say that something was ruined, or unfixable, my mom would correct me. She told me, in no uncertain terms, that we could find a way.
Now, as an adult, I hear those same thoughts running through my head when I encounter a problem- and I say them aloud, to my kids.
No matter the problem, we can find a way to solve it. Together.
Raising kids with grit isn’t something you can teach in a day, or a lesson to be mastered. It’s small lessons, repeated frequently. It’s consistency and motivation and accountability. Over time, you can create a family culture that instills strength, resiliency, and determination.
And what a beautiful gift that would be to give to our kids.
Does your family have mottoes? We’d love to hear them in the comments.
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