My son received his first skateboard a few weeks ago. With memories of my own first board and now recognizing that I was a responsible adult, I made sure I took care of the two most important factors. First, I made sure to outfit him with a brand new helmet, kneepads, elbow pads, and wrist guards. Second, I made sure his new board looked really, really cool.
Once I got him suited up in his protective gear, I took him outside and watched as he emulated the older boys from the neighborhood who are constantly riding their boards. I first showed him how to push off while safely putting two feet on the board. He hesitated the first and second times, but got it on the third try. He seemed to be a natural, but what impressed me most was his tenacity.
Even when he missed something, or fell off the board, he was right back up and at it again. Yes, having the pads and helmet helped (while allowing me more peace of mind as a father), but he also maintained a sticktoitiveness that I haven’t seen when he is working on other activities.
I wish I could bottle the tenacity with which he approached skateboarding and use it at other times. I wish I could bottle the sticktoitiveness and hand it out to our students in school. But maybe we can…
We can help our students to be more tenacious, to show more grit, to stick with it even when things get tough.
Start by showing students that it is ok to fail, and important to try and try again.
Let them know they don’t have to quit.
Provide opportunities to fail.
Most of all, give them time to fail, and support them through every failure as they learn to succeed.