Sunday, October 4, 2015

Grit

Photo credit: B Rosen Foter CC BY-ND
As an educator, I'm really familiar with the new buzzword drifting aimlessly through the literature. I say drifting aimlessly, because other than a couple of billboards, some articles, and some off-handed statements by administrators, most people with feet in the classroom don't use it that much. Most of my students don't even know what it means.

That's not to say that my students don't possess it, though surely some don't, but it just provides a little background to what I'm about to say.

I know, this isn't an education blog, but educators have a hard time separating themselves from their careers. The word still works here, and for what I want to talk about . . .

GRIT

At about 3 minutes into Angela Duckworth's TEDtalk "The key to success? Grit", Duckworthy describes grit as:
Grit is passion and perseverance for very long-term goals. Grit is having stamina. Grit is sticking with your future, day in, day out, not just for the week, not just for the month, but for years, and working really hard to make that future a reality. Grit is living life like it's a marathon, not a sprint.
And this weekend, as I collect yet another rejection letter for my poetry, recover from a rather difficult meeting with my administrator, and reel at the realization that what I create at work doesn't belong to me, I need to remind myself that my goals are not out of reach.

Rejection Letters

Rejection is a very common thing in publishing. There is not a writer in the world who has tried to go through the traditional publishing world who has not received a stack of rejection letters. 
By the time I was fourteen the nail in my wall would no longer support the weight of the rejection slips impaled upon it. I replaced the nail with a spike and went on writing. (Stephen King, On Writing)
Who am I to think I'm better than one of the greats.

As a matter of fact, rejection and disappointment are an integral part of success.

Reminders

My crazy family
(sorry for the blurry picture)
I just have to look at my daughter. Two years old, and running around like crazy. It's true, when she was learning to walk she fell down a lot. As a matter of fact, the very first time she took some steps, everyone around go so excited and cheered so loud that we scared the crap out of her and she refused to even try and walk for the next two months. 

Eventually she took steps again, with encouragement and prodding. With grit she got back up and stumbled again and again. 

Now, it'd be nice if she would stop every once in awhile . . . but hey, who wants to walk when running is so much fun.

Grinding it out

It's important to keep perspective. Rejection is good. It can be the catalyst that gets us moving, the court of public opinion is often the fire that burns out the impurities. 

Photo credit: wwarby / Foter / CC BY
I have to remind myself that I can't ask my students to have grit if I can't have it in my own life. I will reach my goals. This weekend is a small setback (hell, we've all had them) in a very long road. 

Time to take my own advice. If I want to be a rolemodel for my children and my students, then I need to live what I tell them. 

I need to discover my own source of grit, and if I don't find it . . . I guess I've just got to figure out how to make it.

I'm sure there's a recipe somewhere.

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