Journalist Paul Tough’s book “How Children Succeed – Grit, Curiosity and the Hidden Power of Character”, he looks at 7 character traits that really help kids succeed in school and interpersonally.
#1 , #2 Grit and self control: that is to stick to something long enough to succeed (as in school, college, music, sports, writing, etc.) Self-control is how you make short-term good decisions
# 3 Curiosity: We need to be curious to be great learners. We need to want to know. Kids need to be around adults who are mindful and interested in the world around them and encourage them to be.
#4 Social and emotional intelligence: Socially (or emotionally) incompetent kids become troubled adults who have a tough time in relationships or having good attitudes at work. That is, children need good “people skills” to get along and cooperate with others.
#5 Zest: A feeling of enjoyment and enthusiasm. If you have children, learn to get your zest on. Pursue your interests and focus on learning to love life. Model it, and teach your kids to do the same. If you live in tough circumstances, a dose of zest just might give you the energy to pull out and change it. Sadly, many adults lose it by adulthood and then pass on their unhappiness and dull approach to life to their kids.
#6 Optimism It’s true: People who believe the future will be good are more likely to see (and help) that belief come true. Parents need to help children experience success by giving them tasks from an early age, then give them credit for succeeding.
#7 Gratitude: It is healthy to give thanks. The focus of prayer is healthy, but you can take it even farther with your child. Have him do a short list every day (perhaps in a fun journal) of what he is grateful for. Grateful children tend to fight stress and instill more mindfulness and also tend to be healthier. (Same with adults.)
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