We speak a lot about how our students learn through and need to learn soft skills, such as the art of being graceful, kind and mindful throughout the process of knowledge acquisition.
We also discuss grit as a determinant in successful students and how grit can be taught.
Today I want to discuss grace and grit, together, and the way that we can teach it to create a more centered and thriving student population.
One of my favorite definitions of grace is “courteous goodwill”.
Another favorite is “unmerited divine assistance given humans for their regeneration or sanctification.”
As we seek to teach grit, let us not forget its quieter and more reserved cousin in grace. In looking toward the internet in developing a pedagogical model of these two reciprocal skills, I found the following:
- GRIT is: Firmness of character; indomitable spirit, toughness and resolution; unyielding courage in the face of hardship or danger.
- GRACE is: Freely given unmerited favor and mercy; moral strength; a disposition. In discussing the imperative of teaching stickiness and the possibilities of the human spirit, let us begin to grapple with how we can teach grit with a side order of grace.
In looking at these two definitions, it is clear why grace is an important soft skills to impart on young, gritty minds. In considering this, I have created a few easy ways to teach grace along with imparting grit:
1. Be Graceful
Okay, so this is a bit of a cheat, but modeling grace is imperative in teaching it. In seeking to be a teacher full of grace, remember to give freely (which you probably do) and without resentment (a little bit harder). Learn to accept apologies and be a safe place and haven for problematic student inquiries.
2. Be an Ambassador of Courteous Goodwill
What does courteous goodwill mean to you? Does it mean that extra smile or does it mean giving your students a little time to reflect or have some joy? Whatever being an ambassador means to you, you should do it!
But remember to allow goodwill to flow between student and teacher and reward and acknowledge small acts of goodwill that you have observed.
3. Forgive & Be Forgiving
Just as students need models of grit they also need models as to how to be graceful, especially with themselves. As anxiety and shame are more prevalent in younger and younger students, practice self-forgiveness and treat yourself to a side dose of grace.
If you make a mistake, acknowledge it and show the class how you forgive yourself, recover and keep it moving forward.
4. Model the Grit Required to Jump Hurdles
Discuss your own challenges and victories with your students, allowing them to voice their own doubts about their abilities.
In this manner, the entire class can turn into a cheering squad for the other classmates. When one feels part of a supportive group, the support can be felt even when the other group members aren’t physically around.
Going through the issues others face is often easier for a child, initially, than facing his own problems first. What’s more, helping others work through things serves as a sort of dress rehearsal for the student’s own life. Wonderful, assertive, accomplished role models are golden.
Find them for your child and students and be that role model, yourself. You’ll be seeing dividends generations down the line.
More Useful Resources
- 10 Ways to Become the parent — & Role Model — Your Kids Really Need
- How to Teach a Child Forgiveness