Strength of heart, mind, and will

There are so many things to keep in mind when parenting. There is a reason why it is considered the most difficult job. With a seemingly infinite number of articles, books and sources of advice, it is easy to become overwhelmed. How do we make sense of the explosion of research, ideas, and TED Talks? How do we know what qualities or traits to focus on?

Since writing her bestseller, Angela Duckworth has come to expand her definition of grit to include perseverance + passion. I recently heard her interviewed on the Grow Kinder Podcast. She acknowledges the confusion associated with an overabundance of parenting advice. In response, she identifies 3 major competencies or capability groupings to focus on. The first group includes interpersonal capabilities like kindness and honesty. These are values that begin at home and strengthened by character education at school or at religious institutions. The second group includes intellectual capabilities like creativity and curiosity. The third capability is the strength of will. This includes traits such as grit, goal setting, and the delay of gratification.

In this same podcast interview, Angela Duckworth suggests parents think to themselves every day – How are my children developing the strength of heart, the strength of mind, and the strength of will? Also, we as parents and teachers need to work on helping children foster passion or a growing love for something.

These capabilities are being developed in the children of Willowbrook School. I see examples every single day. Our teachers are focused on the growth of the “whole child”. The partnership between parents and teachers will be on full display next week during P/T conferences. Angela Duckworth’s framework could be a useful tool for focusing these discussions.

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