Perseverance in a new year

Welcome to a New Year.  Things are gearing up in my household for a new year, which is exciting and scary at the same time.

As the new year of school begins, we were reflecting on the word ‘Perseverance’.  What does that look like in our kids at home, kids at school and even for us as adults?


For me, it challenged me to persevere with my blog, to keep using it as a platform to encourage others out there as we navigate a complex world, trying to keep it simple.

We know that grit and perseverance is a bigger indicator of a child’s success than their IQ.  We know that grit and perseverance is something that children – and I am thinking adults – struggle with in our instant society. We know that grit and perseverance can be taught, but the exact how of that is still being investigated. In some ways it is a mystery and it makes me want to do more reading about it!


I viewed this 5 minute clip and enjoyed the grit and perseverance in it. May you find the time to watch it and even share it with your kids. Mine loved it!




Grit, change and stories!

The first week back at school is always exhausting for parents and children. There are new teachers to be met, new routines, the brain needs to click into a different gear and everyone has to be out the house early in the morning!


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Thus, it was no surprise when my 8 year old had a major melt done last night. It was that extra 30 minutes in the pool that tipped him over! After the tears were shed that mercifully produce the endorphines that help the body feel better we had a conversation that was so interesting and exciting for me.  I came out the room and informed my husband – “this positive psych stuff really works”!

Thursday I was listening to a great TED talk by Angela Duckworth on grit. (If you have time take a listen, it is 6 minutes long.) I have written about grit on a number of occasions as researchers are finding out that it is a big indicator of success. Unfortunately little is know about teaching grit, but they do know that young children can be taught practical things about how their brain works and this helps. At times I share with my own kids what I am reading and how it plays out in life trying to help them make links in their brains.


My 8 year old, after his meltdown mentioned that he wanted to change. He didn’t want to feel frustrated and upset at bed time anymore. It had just happened that I had recorded what I thought was a great quote to be retrieved when needed and here was the moment –

“transformed – not in Hollywood ways that we sometimes expect,
but quietly and slowly as most change occurs” Jeff Goins

The 8 year old nodded in understanding, but it didn’t stop there.
“Mum it is like that story you told us about the English cycling team where they decided to change everything by 1%. They changed small things like the food they ate, bits of their bikes and then it worked, they had success.”

I was stunned. That story had been told weeks ago by James Clear on his blog, but somehow the links were being made in this little boy.


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So, what a great encouragement for me and you.
Let’s tell our classes, our own kids about interesting brain facts.
Let’s tell them that change is often slow but that is ok.
Let’s tell them that along the way we will need grit and that grit is worth ‘gritting’ for.
Let’s tell them that failure is not permanent and we keep going.
And, let’s tell stories that have meaning. Stories are so powerful!


Grit and revision is necessary

It has been a busy day with little time for reading or reflection! But I have been reminded lately of the power of revision! I had the lovely opportunity to chat to a friend about life and some of the practical tools positive psychology has to offer. As we were talking I realised that you don’t just get it and have it, it has to be practiced again and again.

Each week I make sure I attend my Pilates class, it just helps to stop the aches and pains and keeps my ‘core’ strong.
If I skip a week it always surprises me how much harder it is and what strength is lost, it obviously needs to be done again and again.
I was reflecting that many of the good things in life are like that!


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So along with this thought I am cutting and pasting a very early blog that I wrote on grit. May you enjoy it as you practice grit again and again!!

Grit…. July 14th

I have continued to think on the all important topic of grit!  It was very interesting! I was teaching in a year 6/7 class on Monday,  introduced the word ‘grit’ and  most kids had no idea of what it meant. I was then thinking about the general lifestyle of kids this age and wondered how much grit was needed?  I am still reflecting on that one and looking at my own kids! How often in this world of instant gratification, fast moving computer games and constant entertainment are kids needing to have grit? I have noticed in my own kids that when some learning situations get difficult, they respond differently.  Some keep going and some want to throw in the towel!

Last summer my daughter was involved in a treasure hunt!  A water melon had been buried in the sand at the beach.  It had been carefully buried within a certain boundry with landmarks noticed so that it would be found again and enjoyed for morning tea! Alas, despite these measures it was not found!

My daughter fits the quote that I read in an study by Duckworth, Peterson, Matthews and Kelly, titled “Grit: Perseverance and passion for long-term goals”.  “High achievers are thought to be triply blessed by ‘ability combined with zeal and with capacity for hard labour.”

She was not happy leaving the beach knowing that a watermelon was there!  That afternoon we all as a family trekked down to the beach with shovels for the search!  We set up a methodical way of digging turning the beach over and over!  After 45 minutes we all decided that someone had stolen it!  Someone had watched it being buried and then decided to dig it up!  But no, she kept going, adament that it had to be there somewhere.

Can you imagine the shrieks of delight when the shovel deflected in the sand and the green outer was seen! We were all ecstatic but none more than her!  The interesting thing: it was not her ability to dig that brought about sucess but the grit she showed!


“Whereas disappointment or boredom signals to to others that it is time to change trajectory and cut losses, the gritty individual stays the course.” (the same paper as quoted above).

The hpothesis is that grit is essential to high achievement!

What do you think?

Practise what you preach…

“Do you practise what you preach?”  was the thoughtful question my gorgeous sister asked me last night as we ‘vibered’ back and forth from Australia to Ethiopia.

“Great question” was my response.  “You have made me realise that the reason I believe in my blog is because I have been trying to practice what I preach and it has actually made such a difference to me, my kids and my teaching. So, even when I wonder if I am doing the right thing and check how many followers I have or even share my blog address with someone and the result is a blank face, I keep blogging because I know it makes a difference”.

My sister then wanted to know “What things have made the biggest difference? I am really interested.”

So, today my blog is the answer to that question.

*Searching for treasure.  At different times we now stop to ask ‘What treasures have we experienced?’ (‘Hunting the good stuff’ is the other term) This is not just done at the end of the day but even when driving in the car.

*Living for the moment.  We have noticed our surroundings a lot more. Things like clouds, blossom, trees…that refocusing amongst the busy times and pace.


The roses and clouds I saw as I ate my lunch in the backyard
photo credit: rebekah bleby

*We have all realised the importance of play and at different times slot in small moments to enjoy. The Uno cards have made a big come back in our home.

*The reiterated knowledge that relationships are really what it is all about and that in this techno world we need to disconnect to connect.  One  way of doing this, is that as Spring has sprung we have together as a family walked to feed ducks together and be.


photo credit: rebekah bleby

*Undivided attention. This has been a lot harder than I thought, but the desire and the effort is there to listen more carefully to conversations and those comments that kids give when they are actually giving me a privileged window into their world.

*I think a lot more about positive emotions, what they are, how they look in everyday experiences, especially when things go wrong or are difficult.


My 12 year old painted this for me to put near my desk! (spelling error and all)

*Life is not always about succeeding and taking the safest option, but it is also about experimenting and being willing to explore options. It is about having grit when the going gets tough.

There is much more than this, but enough for now.

Overall, my writing and sharing on this blog has brought an awareness of the way I am perceiving things and it seems like my thoughts are slowly being rewired in a more positive way. But, not just me. My family are reading the blog, they are taking it on board, they give feedback and at times quote it back to me!! I love it and just want to share it with others and help make a difference.