One of our Formative Five skills in the Lower School is GRIT. We define GRIT as I step out of my comfort zone, risk failing, but I never give up. As Angela Duckworth shared in her book Grit, she found that grit “is a combination of passion and perseverance for a singularly important goal.” She also shared evidence that grit can grow for a person.

To support the development of GRIT in our students ages 5-11, the Lower School counselor, Brooke Hamman, recently shared the book, I Can Do Hard Things, by Gabi Garcia. This book introduces children to the practice of self-talk that is positive and encouraging during times of adversity. The author guides children to tap into their inner strength and resilience.

After Hamman shared the book, students had an opportunity to discuss why the author wrote this book, what the author means by the “quiet voice” inside of each of us, and the positive power of mindful affirmations. We did this during a recent FAMILIES meetup. A FAMILY consists of one adult and one student from each grade from Kindergarten to Grade 5. 

Each member of the FAMILY created a card to share something that is hard for them and what they are doing to get better over time. Some responses included:

  • I can be persistent even if the task is hard.
  • Ice skating and balance
  • I’m working on soccer and foot skills.
  • I want to get better at math and cooking.
  • I can stay focused even when other people are talking.
  • I can do anything I set my mind to.
  • Piano is hard for me, but I am not giving up.

We took the 398 student, faculty, and staff ‘I Can Do Hard Things’ cards and hung them on two boards in the Lower School hallway. It has been exciting to see students stop to find their own card and also read others’ cards.

My own card stated that I am working on being brave when I mountain bike. A Grade 2 student read my card in the hallway and stopped by my office. He shared that he had read my card and wanted to help me. He provided me with advice that was thoughtful and provided me with the guidance I needed. I am taking his words of wisdom along with me on my next ride.