Grit and Self-Control


Educators and researchers are also interested in what it means to cause thriving.  In one particular study, “Peterson identified a set of strengths that were, according to his research, especially likely to predict life satisfaction and high achievement.  After a few small adjustments, they settled on a final seven:  grit, self-control, zest, social intelligence, gratitude, optimism, and curiosity.”

As qualities that contribute to life satisfaction and high achievement, how can we encourage and foster these qualities in our homes and family relationships?

Part of that answer can be found in how we approach the problems/opportunities that we face in our families.  Do we approach them as opportunities? As obstacles to be worked around? Or as roadblocks impeding our path?

Sometimes a problem is actually an opportunity to learn about responsibility, to gain confidence in problem-solving skills, decide on a solution, learn from mistakes, try another solution, and see it through to completion. What seems like a problem can really be an opportunity to develop grit, practice gratitude, engage in curiosity about how things work, increase the odds of having optimism about ability to handle life, and be a timely learning experience in the value of self-control.  When put that way, it doesn’t really sound like a problem does it?

To read more about these character traits and how they influence life satisfaction and achievement, check out “How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character” by Paul Tough.  The New York Times book review of this book is available here:

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