A Sense of Purpose
This week the Sulam team met on Monday for a professional day in which we discussed the task of helping our students develop grit - the power to stick to a task and to persevere through failure, struggle, feeling overwhelmed - and not give up. There are techniques to help children develop this important skill, such as using the correct type of praise. For example, rather than telling your child he or she is smart, talented, or intrinsically good at something, it is always best to praise the effort, perseverance and hard work a child puts into a task. Grit is an important factor in the success of our students.
Having a sense of purpose is also what will determine the “stick to it-ness” a student will have. Without a sense of purpose, without passion for a subject or objective, it is hard to have grit. For this reason, it is essential to help our students discover their strengths, their interests and what motivates them. They don’t have to know exactly what career they want to pursue. A sense of purpose is developed when a child feels that they are important, that they matter. Giving a child responsibility helps them recognize that their contribution to the home and family counts, that their worth at school is valued. Becoming a member of a sports team, contributing to a group activity, participating in a mission or program, all help create a sense of purpose.
Our students sometimes come to us feeling defeated by their academic struggles. Our job at Sulam is not only to turn their academic struggles into success. We must help them recognize their value in the school community. Each student has something important to contribute, and we work with them to find their passion and to develop their sense of purpose. After that, developing the grit to accomplish their goals comes more easily.