I just finished teaching another semester of writing courses. Every time I teach I am in awe at two things–how much I love my students and the powerful impact of grit and practice for writing and life.
There are probably plenty of teachers out there who teach simply to get a paycheck, but I am motivated by the people I meet when I teach. Truly, my students are lovely people that I genuinely like, even the students that probably don’t like me. I have had wonderful conversations before, during and after classes semester after semester. I have learned something good from nearly all my students.
This semester I had students who faced the challenges of family, work, their first semester in college or simply overcoming their own fears. Their stories are all so unique. They all had their reasons to show up to class and do the assignments. The ones that made it through the semester displayed some wonderful grit (see the video about grit that my class watched at the beginning of the semester linked below). I am proud of my students for their improvements and determination.
My students’ consistent work get real results. I love to see how their writing changes when they begin writing every week and applying ways to improve. Those that do not pay attention to my feedback and simply just want to get the assignment done also improve simply because they are doing it more often. But the real winners are those who make the needed changes over and over and see drastic results by the end of the semester. They are the students whose papers seem to have more new ink than original ink and then by the end of the semester have comments of praise and a lot of beautiful white space indicating that everything on the page belongs.
I love that writing, and everything really, is attainable when approached with vigor and consistency. I am reading the book The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy, and he shares the incredible results of consistent efforts over a period of time. The powerful example he shares is the option of 5 million dollars or a penny tripled each day for 31 days. After waiting 31 days, the penny option becomes 10 million plus. Anyone would say the effort and wait was worth it.
If there is something in your life that is hard and you want to quit, consider grit and the end results that truly make the difficulty seem small later on.
When is a time you showed grit? What were the results? How can we instill this trait into our children?