Apr 15, 2020

Teaching Grit and Resilience

Excerpt from Do the KIND Thing

As a kid, my favorite story was “The Three Little Pigs.” The lesson about investing time in quality work stuck with me, and in everything I do I always try to build a solid structure. Now my wife and I read this folktale to our children. We also read them the story about “The Little Engine That Could” (“I think I can, I think I can, I think I can”).

Can you teach resilience? How do you forge a young (or less than young) personality to know to get up and not stay down? How do you inculcate the sense in your kids that they should not take no for an answer when they truly believe in something?

As parents, we sometimes face the perverse incentive for our kids not to question us and to accept whatever we tell them. But teaching your kids that it is okay to question authority, that it is okay to press you, is sometimes useful. You don’t want to raise someone who can’t get along with his peers because he is too pushy or stubborn. But you also don’t want a pushover who accepts whatever life throws at him or her and will blindly obey when someone imposes an arbitrary rule or condition. The lesson has to be taught and then restated for them: If something goes wrong, don’t be afraid to try again. What matters is effort. What matters is that you don’t give up. Don’t be afraid to fail. Be afraid to not try. Children (young and old) want to avoid disappointing their parents. It is important for us to learn to compete with ourselves and be proud of our effort and not to try to succeed to impress others.

A great book that shares insights on this front is NurtureShock, by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman. Much of our success— or lack thereof— in life stems from luck. But much of that luck is also related to our persistence in the game. If you don’t play the game, after all, you can’t score. Life will certainly throw many curveballs, so teaching ourselves and our loved ones to have a resilient mindset can help us deal with that uncertainty and persevere. It is critical that we build— in ourselves and in our offspring— the self- confidence necessary to keep playing the game, even if we don’t think we are that good at it. The more we play it, the better we get at it.

Family          Leadership

More from Daniel

Protecting our Democracy

I believe that the overwhelming majority of people are moderates who may not always recognize our duty to stand up and be counted. But in moments like this, we must defend our Constitutional norms and uphold American trust in our democracy. This piece is based off of an email I felt compelled to send to Senate Majority Leader Shirkey and House Speaker Chatfield this afternoon.

Dear Michigan Senate Majority Leader Shirkey and House Speaker Chatfield,

We have never met, but I hope to meet you one of these days and to be able to express my deep gratitude for your role in safeguarding our democracy. You have been thrust into a historic moment. How you act today will determine a lot about our nation’s future, the integrity of American elections, and the character of the Republican Party.

read more

The Moment We’re In Calls for Kindness

This is an email I sent to the KIND team this morning, encouraging empathy and bridge-building during a time of deep division within our country.

KIND Team,

This past weekend, Americans elected Joe Biden the 46th U.S. President. I have long felt that President-elect Biden’s campaign messages echo KIND’s ethos and I am encouraged that this administration will champion the values that we at KIND, regardless of political party, hold dear.

I realize that this news does not hit everyone the same way. As I have said before, everyone has a home here at KIND. We must continue to model empathy and respectful listening and discourse, not only internally at KIND but also externally in our communities.

read more

Moderates, this election is up to us

Moderates like me do not conform to the prevailing stereotypes of Republican or Democrat, which makes us a frustrating yet important group to pundits come Election Day. We like to think for ourselves and question what we hear, which means we’re often unswayed by partisan rhetoric. Perhaps most unnerving for politicians is that we choose values over political dogma and reserve the right to change our minds. This makes our actions challenging to control or predict, despite the great consequence of our votes.

read more