Friday, September 16, 2011

one-line power poem

What if the secret to success is failure?

That's the title of an article in the NYT Magazine by Paul Tough.  It explores the idea that character is just as important as academic prowess in climbing the ladder towards a college degree, and that the moral virtues like fairness, respect and integrity (labelled around here as the Six Pillars of Character) may not be sufficiently powerful, especially if you're starting from the real bottom of the ladder and not halfway up.

The most striking idea is that these other character strengths--which, enjoyably, can be summed up as 'grit'--can and should be taught in school.  These "performance character" traits include self-control, diligence and perseverance--in other words, the traits you need to keep climbing after you slip and slide down the ladder for the umpteenth time.  That's what makes the difference, and it's why some of those kids who start halfway up (or who make the climb with Mom & Dad holding up their butts) are having trouble these days.

So, once again:

What if the secret to success is failure?

If you've stopped by, don't forget to look below for a new feature on my blog, the OIK Challenge!


  1. Oh my gosh! Having just read THE GENIUS IN ALL OF US and NURTURESHOCK, I've been thinking about this lots too. You, Heidi, would love these books. I love "sandihantizer"! Happy Poetry Friday and a well-deserved weekend!

  2. Hello there Heidi! My research interest/specialization is in gifted and talented education - and the pathways towards achieving expertise and eminence - and you're right! Dealing with failure and frustration would be one key element towards that. Makes the successes all the sweeter. ;-)


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