If you are like me, you want your children to be completely pleasing to God, “with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength.” (Mark 12:30)
We work on increasing the giving of ALL of our strength to God in PE class each week. A strong body helps students have a strong mind. A strong body will help develop a strong soul also.
Much research has been done at UPENN on the benefits of children having grit.
Grit is a mental toughness and a character strength that leads to perseverance. Perseverance is the key to getting those perfect results that God desires for us. (James 1:4) Grit is also an acquired trait, not something we are born with. Grit can be taught.
2 Requirements for Canterbury Students to Develop Grit in PE Class
- Willingness to fail.
- Responding positively to failure.
I wrote previously about a Japanese proverb “nanakorobi yaoki” (七転び八起き) and how I apply it at Canterbury. I am not overly concerned if our kids (please remember one of them is mine) fall down, perhaps even scrape a knee, feel a bit of muscle pain as long as they get back up.
3 Prayers for Canterbury Kids
- Pray that our kids do not hurt themselves permanently when they inevitably fall down.
- Pray that we will be there to encourage them when things get tough.
- Pray that we parents and teachers demonstrate the qualities we desire for our kids
In the US Navy, one of the maladies that persistently inflicted our sailors was a phenomenon we called “getting short.” When sailors arrived on board for their two to three year stint they were invariably committed to working hard and giving it their best. However, somewhere after the midpoint of their tour of duty a sailor would stop looking forward to the day’s work and start counting down the days they had left on their commitment.
- They started “getting short.”
- Their attitude towards doing a top notch job began to decline.
- Their work, in general, suffered.
Our mission was impaired also. A small group of sailors gave it their all up until the day they walked off the ship. Those sailors climbed the ranks more quickly, were given more and bigger responsibilities. In short, or, over the long haul they excelled.
Giving our all (in work or in school) to the bitter end is a sign of having grit.
How to Teach Grit to Our Canterbury Children
- Set goals with our children and ourselves that we cannot possibly see how we can complete when we are just starting out.
- Resolve to place one foot in front of the other and though falling at times we will get back up and learn from those mistakes and carry on.
Once seemingly impossible goals get realized. This process will help a child learn grit. Especially when they also see us parents and educators doing the same.
NASA Demonstrates Grit in Mars Insight Landing
As I write this, quite coincidentally, NASA’s Insight is attempting to land on Mars. (It landed successfully!) A previous flight director is discussing via YouTube LIVE the “many many years of countless numbers of people’s efforts and the lessons they have learned from their many failures in order to reach this point of placing another spacecraft on a planet 300,000,000 miles away.”
The Grittiest Prophet
Jeremiah was the grittiest of all prophets. For 40 some years he preached gloom and destruction. Converts were nil. Dungeons and dragons. Okay, no dragons. Disheartenment. Discouragement. Defeat. In one of his weaker moments Jeremiah accused God of having deceived him. (Jeremiah 12) “Life is unfair. The bad guys prosper. The good guys suffer. What’s up with that?” God responded with a metaphor from physical activity. “If you have run with footmen and grown weary, how can you compete with horses?” Jeremiah never gave up.
Do we want our kids to just be runners or do we want them to be able to compete with horses?
I say, “Bring on the horses!”. The students and teachers need to run. Fall down. Get back up. Learn. Rejoin the race. Rinse. Repeat. And stay with it till the very end. Only then will we learn grit and be able to have persevered and become complete, lacking in nothing.