Guess what trait our kids need to shine?

Do you remember your most recent “proud parent” moment? What was it? Were you watching your little one’s first steps or hearing their first words? Were you at a sporting event or a parent-teacher conference? It is so much fun to see our kids shine.

Watching our kids shine is great, but I don’t think all “proud parent” moments are equal.

I think some moments carry more weight than others, and recognizing the weightier moments can help our kids become who they are meant to be.

My most recent “proud parent” moment was at an assembly when my eight-year old daughter Gracelyn received the grand prize for a book-writing contest at her school.

I was extremely proud of her, and what made this award so special is all she was willing to do in order to finish the book.

On the night before the book was due Gracelyn gave up dessert – yes, dessert! – play time and a little sleep in order to finish her book. There was a crucial moment when it was bedtime and the other girls were brushing teeth and putting on pajamas. Gracelyn was unfazed and totally focused on writing and illustrating her book called, The Adventures of Pompeii.


Araya asked her to join the other girls and start getting ready for bed. Gracelyn pleaded to stay up late and finish her book. Without even looking up from her writing, she blurted out, “I will stay up until 10:30pm if I have to.”

We wouldn’t normally let her stay up that late, but Araya and I both realized we were witnessing a unique trait being developed in our little girl.

On that night, Gracelyn exhibited a trait that West Point has discovered in all their best candidates. It is a trait more important than IQ, personality, or conscientiousness.

It is a trait found in John Wayne, Navy Seals and my daughter.

It's called “Grit.”

Merriam-Webster defines grit as, “firmness of mind or spirit; unyielding courage.” In her 2013 Ted Talk, psychologist and ‘Grit expert’ Angela Duckworth defines grit as, “having perseverance and passion for long term goals.”

Grit Quote

Duckworth says, “The number one question I get from parents is. How do I give my kids grit?”

Duckworth quickly admits to not having too many answers to this question, but I stumbled upon one thought as I reflected on Gracelyn’s book writing experience. It’s this:

As parents we don’t give our kids grit so much as we notice it when it shows up. We don’t teach our kids grit as much as we fan the flame of grit when it appears in an activity they love to do.

I wasn’t surprised that Gracelyn wrote a book because I’ve seen her read 60-90 minutes every night since she was six years old. Gracelyn loves books. What does your kid love to do?

HobbitI believe every one of our kids is made for greatness, and I know you do too. God has given each of our children passions, skills, and talents that are meant to be used for His good in this world.

 Paul tells us in Ephesians 2:10, “For we are God’s masterpiece, created in Christ Jesus to do good works which He prepared in advance for us to do.”

Our kids are masterpieces who are made to do great stuff in this world. But they will never become who God intends them to be, or do what God intends them to do without being “gritty.”

Are you ready to fan the flame of grit? Here are a couple steps in cultivating “gritty kids.”

1-Sit down and make a list of all the activities your child loves to do.

2- Watch for the activities your child is willing to sacrifice for. When you see       him/her sacrificing and showing grit, encourage and celebrate their hard work.

3 - The best way to cultivate “gritty kids” is to be a “gritty adult.” What do you love to do? Is there a God-given work you need to persevere in right now?

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