Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations.

Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations.

I find myself struggling more and more with an either/or proposition. As schools across America embrace the importance of Social Emotional Learning (SEL) it seems that many want to focus on either belonging or grit. We hear criticism when adults – be it coaches, teachers, or directors – push student to reach their edge.

I don’t believe that pushing a student, challenging a youngster to fight through a difficult situation, is diminishing their sense of belonging. I don’t believe active coaching isn’t cultivating a sense of self. Motivation and encouragement is personal . . . it is different for every student. We want our students to fail from time to time; learning from failure is a true characterization of a growth mindset.

As adults we must teach students that work is hard; we must do the work. We must teach students that not everything is fun; it isn’t always about voice and choice. We must do the work. We must show students that teachers, friends, and colleagues are support; that we are stronger together. When times get tough, when we travel difficult roads, there are often beautiful successes at the end.

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