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 Essential Life Skills and Character Traits for Kids

Grit and Persistence for KidsWhatever you call it, the trait is essential to success in education and life. In recent research it has been most commonly called, “Grit”.

I vividly remember the first time I saw my son show “grit”. He was just mastering the use of his hands. I had 1-finger in front of him. He tried to reach out and grab it. You could see the struggle on his face yet he persevered and managed to grasp my finger for the very first time. It was an amazing moment for me as a father.

As our children grow up, it is this grit that enables our children to learn and achieve. As parents, it is our job to help this trait flourish. A simple example is with homework. Who hasn’t watched our child struggle with a math question and thought to ourselves, “I want to give you the answer!” Yet we don’t, because we know this is how they learn.

KIPP is a national network of free, open-enrollment, college-preparatory public charter schools (http://www.kipp.org/about-kipp). KIPP was discussed quite extensively within the popular (and highly recommended by Kidamentals) book titled How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character by Paul Tough

Within the book, on the KIPP website, and within the KIPP curriculum are seven highly predictive strengths that correlate into long term success in education. Grit, of course, is notated as one of them. KIPP defines Grit as:

GRIT -- finishing what one starts; completing something despite obstacles; a combination of persistence and resilience.

    • Finishes whatever he or she begins
    • Tries very hard even after experiencing failure
    • Works independently with focus


There are many opportunities in our daily lives to teach children to be persistent towards attaining their goals. Working on homework. Working on a puzzle. Climbing on a playground.

There are also many programs that can help with this trait as well. I was pleased to learn about The First Tee program’s nine core values. The First Tee program uses golf as a stepping stone to help children learn the stated Nine Core Values.

One of them happens to be Perseverance. To quote directly from The First Tee’s website:

Perseverance: to persist in an idea, purpose or task despite obstacles

To succeed in golf, players must continue through bad breaks and their own mistakes, while learning from past experiences

Learn more about The First Tee and their Nine Core Values here.

Kidamentals highly recommends that children learn to keep pushing forward despite the many obstacles that they’ll face in life. Kidamentals highly recommends that caretakers of children take this message to heart and look for opportunities to meet this goal.

Share your stories with us. What organizations or activities have you found to help teach children about grit?

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