“You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”
Most of us need to build our courage. We aren’t all born with grit! It turns out there are plenty of things we can do to develop grit in our children and ourselves. Research shows that kids who face their fears and take on tasks that are outside their comfort zone build courage and resiliency.
Eleanor Roosevelt struggled with fear as child and young lady. She was shy and awkward and terrified of speaking in public. She described fear as “the worst stumbling block anyone has to face. It is the great crippler.”
As Eleanor matured, she worked hard to address her fearful character by purposefully taking on tasks that gave her anxiety. “You gain strength and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face,” she once said. Eleanor became one of the most influential women in American history and an incredibly effective public speaker.
Let’s encourage our girls and boys to step outside their comfort zones. I have to remind myself to do the same. It can be downright scary! It’s much less stressful to be complacent and to avoid things that seem difficult or scary. Ask your child or students about their fears and struggles. Then brainstorm a list of tasks or activities that can help them gain confidence. Small steps are always a good place to start. And don't forget to join in and let them see you addressing your fears. It's not easy, but the more practice we have stepping outside our comfort zones, the more brave and resilient we will become.
Check out these picture books about Eleanor Roosevelt: