Sunday, July 30, 2017

What does it mean to have "Grit?" Challenge Vs. Abuse Definition Needed

What does it mean to have "Grit?" We really need to know!

Drawing a line in the sand with abuse while having "grit"  is what is really going to change the world.

So, I  Dr. Lee Duckworth's work and I know I am also not an expert in it. I'm not attacking the research nor am I attacking "grit" or "perseverance." But, I see this a huge problem in our country, culture war, the world. What I do want is for people to know the difference between harming themselves and "quitting." Yes, I want all kids to finish school. Yes, it would be great if every person stuck out "hard times" to reach their larger goal. I DO THINK THE KEY TO HAPPINESS is seeing "life as a marathon and not a sprint."
However, I can't tell you how many times I've seen people in an abusive situation that stay people "I'm just not a quitter. I don't want to fail." I am not only talking about relationships but about abusive job situations and degree programs. Dr. Lee talks about how it didn't matter "how safe they felt in school" [If a student had grit. They still finished.} While this sounds like a very inspiring inner-city school movie, it doesn't ask: What if I'm so full of grit that I go to school and get killed?
For people with more privilege it doesn't ask: What if I finish this degree program and then I can't get a job because the degree is worthless?
What if I refuse to leave a marriage/relationship/friendship when I am being abused or even if I'm in danger?
What if I have so much grit I refuse to leave a job where I am: underpaid, bullied, sexually harassed, over worked, screamed at, must keep quiet about abuse?
I think it's a good question to ask currently as we see the current administrative claim they are "the best" and "strong" because they refuse to give up on a bill that the vast majority of citizens do not want. They certainly "refuse to quit" as they threaten and bully senators, insurance companies, and the American people over their rights to have medicine and health care that is a matter of life and death. I don't think quitting this enterprise could be seen as "lack of grit." 
It also leads to me to the reality that for many of us somethings can't happen no matter how much grit with have. 
On the disability perspective: She says physical health didn't impact this "grit factor" but how many people did she study who had disabilities who were working at jobs because of their "grit." If she did have them what was their "grit" doing to their bodies and happiness? 
Now I hear all the voices of people saying my generation and the generations ahead of me are quitters. Please know I am a huge fan of grit. It took me 3 years to walk. It took me five times to pass my road test. It took me 2 tried to pass math classes for three years of high school. It took me 9 years to get a degree post-graduate degree. It will have taken me five years for my novel to be done. (I"m so hoping to write faster) It took me over twenty years to become a published author. 
I don't regret my graduate degree but I regret going to a school that was bad for me. I regret that I only loved one place I worked that I ever really loved. I do sometimes think what my life could have been like if I had spent more time and effort writing in my 20s. (It IS a HUGE privilege that this is something I think about!)
I did have the option of leaving bad jobs. My only pain about leaving was knowing people would think I was a "quitter." I think my "grit" and my perseverance is one of my best qualities. However, I think one that is even better is my ability to know that I'm not willing to take abuse when there are other options. 
However, I know that I was only able to do this when I had options. I really want this "grit" work to continue. But I think the MOST important thing we can do if we can't "instill grit" in our kids is to give them the ability to stand up for themselves and keep safe and well and know the difference between this and "quitting."
 What I want is for "grit" to be defined as "It was too dangerous/abusive for me to graduate from that high school, so I found another way." I want grit to be: I didn't give up until I found a safe place." "I kept trying when things were challenging and knew exactly when to leave when things were abusive."
If someone knows more about this research and wants to contact me please do.

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