GRIT.

The buzz word in parenting these days is GRIT. According to pioneering psychologist Angela Duckworth, the secret to outstanding achievement is not talent but grit, a special blend of passion and perseverance. Research shows that you can actually grow your grit, but like any hero's journey, you'll have to overcome your own personal forms of resistance and face challenges every step of the way. So how do we foster grit in our kids? 

1. STAND BACK. If your child asks for help, give helpful and encouraging words instead of a helping hand. More than half the time, your child will figure it out.

2. FOCUS ON EFFORT... NOT SKILL. Our skill level at anything is determined by a mixture of talent and practice. If we aren't blessed with natural talent at something, we can apply focus, determination and practice to improve. Reinforce this growth mindset every chance you get whether your kid excels or falters. Praise all the focused practice that made winning possible or reflect on how to practice better to improve for next time.

3. CELEBRATE FAILURES. My favorite podcast right now is How I Built This with Guy Raz. Guy interviews successful entrepreneurs and every single one discusses their spectacular failures. Each of us has our own path and we don't always choose the right one the first time... or the second... or the twentieth... Once your kid internalizes that failing is the most efficient path to learning and that failing is part of the process, a glorious world of unexplored opportunities opens up.

4. NURTURE PASSIONS. When you do what you love, you spend every spare minute thinking about it, so there's a higher probability that you'll rise to the top organically. Take John Mackey for example. He loved being a grocer. His mother urged him to go back to college and pursue a different career path, but he stuck with his passion and founded Whole Foods Market. 

Running a project-based school and summer camp means that we spend a lot of time thinking about how to infuse grit and a growth mindset in the classroom. Here, mistakes never go on your permanent record. We celebrate mistakes because students are taking risks and challenging themselves and learning deeply. In our lesson plans, we focus on process over end product. Teachers support students in developing metacognition and learning how to approach problems rather than seeking a single right answer. The most important thing we do at Hudson Lab School is to celebrate our students' unique strengths and passions. By focusing on our strengths rather than our weaknesses, we afford ourselves the opportunity to harness our potential.