In recent years, there has been a great deal of discussion about developing “grit” in youth. Grit, a non-cognitive trait identified by Angela Duckworth, is about persevering and achieving success even when faced with adversity and failure. In Paul Tough’s book, How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity and the Hidden Power of Character, he describes grit as having “something to do with academic persistence… It’s not just smarts, it’s the ability to stick with a task that makes a difference.”
To develop the skills needed to succeed, Tough argues, and Touchstone staff agree, it is critically important for children to experience failure and adversity in a supportive environment so they can develop coping skills and resilience.
As a school and as parents, it is vital that we provide such opportunities in order to teach our children how to learn and develop from those experiences. As a mom and an educator, I know how difficult is to observe your child and/or student fail. Simply put, it hurts to see our children hurt – it explains why we try to protect them, their happiness, and their self-esteem as much as we possibly can. However, life is not always a happy, perfect world. We all have challenges in our lives and experience failure. Researchers and experts suggest that personal and professional success follow from the ability to manage these difficulties.
At Touchstone, when students encounter adversity and challenges, we welcome the opportunity to help them get back up again and try again, knowing that these difficult moments are among the most valuable learning experiences that students will have.