Monday, September 7, 2015

Monday Morning Rant: Grit is not a Consumer Item

Today, I opened my e-mail to find yet another tiresome article from Linked In about “grit”: Does your child have it? How can they get it? How can this quality be used to make more money for corporate America?

I’m fed up with reading articles about how to give your kids “grit”.  If you’re worried about your kid’s lack of grit, your kid does not have grit, nor are they likely to get it. Grit is not another consumer item that you can buy, finagle, or “create an experience” around for your child. Grit does not come from some manufactured experience that you can cook up, nor is it just another consumer good you can purchase to ensure your child’s success in a capitalistic system. 

Grit is an authentic quality that develops when the adults in your life don’t make your mental, emotional, and physical safety their top priority every given second. Grit develops when you are truly alone in the world, in over your head, and those around you are completely indifferent to your pain. Grit develops when no one is there to rescue you, and you have to keep enduring day after day, no matter what. Grit is the pearl developed through long years of agitation and discomfort. Grit is a survival instinct, a necessity that blooms in those of us who did not enter this world with a safety net billowing below us 24/7. Grit is not a corporate buzzword or another trendy anti-Millennial movement. Grit is real, and it’s serious stuff, and if you’re obsessed with how to obtain it for your child, your kid ain’t got it, and is never going to get it. So please, stop writing pithy articles about grit. Grit is not cute. It’s not something you can shoehorn into your kid’s experience or otherwise purchase. Grit is serious stuff, and it should be left to the professionals.

Kristen McHenry


Frank Moraes said...

Actually, "grit" does seem like a corporate buzzword these days. Speaking of which, I highly recommend a new book by Nicole Aschoff, The New Profits of Capital. It has case studies of four super-rich people who are very public in explaining how to "fix" capitalism. (I'm with Aschoff: capitalism isn't something that can be tweaked; it needs fundamental reform.) One of the people she profiles is Oprah. And the main thing there is her philosophy that very real, very harsh external obstacles are really just internal obstacles. It's the typical New Age philosophy, turned into a weapon of the plutocrats. We don't need a higher minimum wage or greater union power; we just need to see every setback and a great opportunity! This kind of thing has been shown to be nonsense when it comes to suffering through cancer (that is: being "positive" doesn't increase your chances). But in the economic realm, we are still getting it crammed down our throats.

I don't have grit; I'm just stubborn.

Kristen McHenry said...

Great comment, Frank! I agree completely.