Who was your favorite teacher/coach in school?

Malia’s 8th grade graduation with one of her teachers.

I want you to think about your favorite teacher and/or coach growing up. Kelli and I often ask this question of parents we are coaching or teaching. Now, think about the teachers that came to mind when you read that question. What were they like? How did other kids view them?

I know for me, there are so many names that run through my mind… each for different reasons. I remember Mr. Cherbas in 9th grade because he was the cool teacher in school. I remember Mrs. Rumbaugh in High School. I remember so many coaches like Coach Colleran (affectionately known by his players as Dr. Bob) and Coach Hensley. To be honest, I could go on and list many more.

But as I consider these important people from my past, they all have one thing in common. They each pushed me in some way to do better. If I’m truthful, I didn’t like them at times! Other kids considered them really hard (high expecttions… aka hard to get an A). But I’m so thankful, because I know much of who I am today can be attributed to their influence in my life.

As I think of my kids and their journey in school – I see similarities. Some of their most difficult teachers were their favorites. But here is where I find myself slightly troubled. Fewer and fewer kids seem able to “handle” the hard teachers. I have no statistical analysis to back up my observations, but I’m confident they are accurate none-the-less.

There is research however pointing to things we do as parents that can hinder our kids’ ability to not only handle the difficult teachers, but thrive in the midst of challenging circumstances. Here are just three quick tips, that can make a difference in your child’s “grit” as it has come to be known.

  1. Encourage delayed gratification – from an early age, create opportunities for your child to have to wait for the good stuff. When they want something they see on TV, create a plan for them to earn it over time. The simple act of learning to wait builds self-control which in turn creates grit in your child.
  2. Encourage natural consequences – again from an early age, let natural consequences work their “magic” on your children. Hunger is a great teacher. When your child forgets their lunch, don’t run it to them, but let hunger teach them to remember the next time. I promise they won’t starve between noon and the time they get home.
  3. Encourage hard work over results – try to affirm effort first. Even when they have success, tie their success to how hard they worked to achieve it. When they fail; encourage them for their hard work, or help them make the connection between lack of hard work and their results.

Certainly there are more, but start with these three. Build GRIT into your kids so that teachers that are “hard” will be remembered by them as influential instead of simply “hard”.

If you would like more information on building grit or simply “Raising Kids That Thrive in School” then please take a look at our brand new course. It’s available at 30% off until Friday March 10th. Click on the button below to watch a short video and learn more about our course, “Raising Kids That Thrive in School”.