I was having a conversation with a couple colleagues about masculinity recently . It was brought up because I had just interviewed one of them for my project The Man Effect (themaneffect.com). A multitude of topics relating to manhood were covered that night, but one that stuck out to me enough to write about was this one question that was asked:
"Can grit be taught?"
The moment that question was infused into the air, I felt a sense that something interesting was about to happen. The man proposing the question is a teacher who genuinely cares about his students. If my memory serves me right, he gave examples of small tangible goals that he set out for the kids/teenagers to achieve with his support. Regardless of his proactive efforts, these students appeared to lack the "grit" to accomplish some very basic achievements. After he gave examples of the problem of todays "generation" lacking grit, the conversation took an interesting turn in my opinion. He openly wondered if this skill could be a taught. The response of the small group(myself included) was that we were instantly drawn to difficult situations in which we were forced to learn "grit". Difficult scenarios and stories were given, where backing out was not an option for ourselves or the subject of the narrative. We also conversed about moments of older men who possesses tenacity.
Think about it. Is grit a tangible attribute that someone can learn or attain, or is it something that one is just naturally born with? The definition of grit in this context would seem to be something along these lines of "Courage and resolve; strength of character". I found it so interesting that the instant examples given of how we ourselves had learned/attained grit were all associated with interactions with another human beings. I do believe strenuous situations can teach you this attribute as well. I found it fascinating that other men were instantly linked as being teachers/instigators of grit. I personally do believe there is a lack of grit in today's age. I would not say it is generation specific but rather humanity specific. I think that this day and age has taken the opportunity to learn grit away from many people. It reminds me of Jedidiah Smith a trapper from times past who literally was mauled by a grizzly bear while on a journey through the undeveloped western USA. He literally had his face sown back together with horse hair and continued on his journey.
At the end of the day, though, how does grit help society? Is the "lack" of grit in todays age really a negative thing? Can grit be taught? I would love to hear your thoughts as this is a developing idea and conversation in my life.