Educational Insights 9.30.3013
Educational Insights
Posted on 10/29/2013

An article I recently read by Christine Carter, reminded me how important it is for us to model and teach that ‘hard work’ is at the core of becoming successful in this world. In this high tech society, built around immediate gratification and the desire for instant results, the concept of good work ethic is essential in a child’s life.

            Researchers tell us that the vast majority of achievements do not spring from innate talent, as much as they emerge from hard work and passion. Angela Duckworth, celebrated psychologist, defines ‘grit’ as perseverance and passion for long-term goals. She sees achievement as the product of skill and effort, instead of a byproduct of IQ or innate talent.

            Carter shares three things that people who rise to greatness tend to have in common:

1.    They both practice and rest deliberately over time.

2.    Their practice is fueled by passion and intrinsic interest.

3.    They wrestle adversity into success.

These things are the very essence of grit. Deliberate practice and persistence over time

are essential facets of grit. We need to teach our youth that to be really good at something requires a willingness to engage in hard or, quite often, very boring practice. Real grit gives us the ability to practice the ‘right’ thing rather than to just practice what is fun.

            True masters gain experience over the long haul. Malcolm Gladwell states, “most successful people average ten years of practice and experience before becoming truly accomplished”.

People who go to the top of their fields don’t just practice deliberately and persistently; they also rest strategically. This is a key component for our students to become successful adults, and one that we often overlook in our current 24/7, hooked up, go-go-go culture.

These traits need to be consistently modeled and  taught by the significant adults in the lives of our children, as well as expected from all our students.

This younger, digital generation must accept the fact that too often, the easy way does not pave the way to success. Focused hard work, persistent practice, and a fair amount of failure are all essential components inherent in the lives of truly successful people. The old saying that nothing good comes easy is true today, more than ever!


-Dr. Paula Sissel

Superintendent/Elementary Principal