Monday, May 1, 2017

Raising Unstoppable Kids: Books About Resilience, Grit and Determination

How is it that you can have two people in similar difficult and dire circumstances and one person flounders and one flourishes? What is different about those two people? One had better luck? Better access to resources? Is one person just "tougher"?

The answer is resilience. 

One person may have a few lucky breaks and providential blessings along the way and it would be easy to point to that fortune as the key to their success. Except that strokes of good luck aren't a predictor for success. How many times have we heard of someone in financial straits winning the lottery only to end up worse off than they were before? A resilient person doesn't sit around waiting for a big break, but when the big break happens, they know how to make the most of it. 

Resilience is often the product of difficult or even tragic circumstances. But wouldn't it be great if we taught resilience to ourselves and our kids before times got tough?

Here are books that help us do just that.

The cover of this book is a little text book-ish. But, this is not the stuff you learned in high school. Dweck writes about the growth mindset and the fixed mindset. People that repeatedly and persistently work to overcome have a growth mindset versus a fixed mindset. 

To define the different mindsets, Dweck asks when do you feel smart? Is it when you don’t make a mistake, when something is easier for you than others or is it when you work on something and figure it out? People who feel smart when they’re flawless have a fixed mindset. People who feel smart when they’re learning have a growth mindset.

Can you reform a fixed mindset and hone a growth mindset? Dweck says you can and offers practical, helpful examples on how. She says to offer children encouragement such as: 
  • “That homework was long and involved. I really admire the way you concentrated and finished it.” 
  • “It makes me really upset when you don’t do a full job. When do you think you can complete this?”
The Little Book of Talent: 52 Tips For Improving Your Skills, Daniel Coyle
This book is very easy to read; it's divided into 52 short chapters or "tips." Coyle says that it each one of us has talents but we're unsure how to develop that talent into potential. This book is the manual on how. 

All of this advice is research-based and field-tested. Even more than that - it's practical and actionable. For example: 
  • Don't waste time trying to break bad habits, instead, build new ones.
  • Practicing 5 minutes a day is better than an hour a week.
One of Doyle's tips is "Take a nap." How can you not like a book that gives you scientific reasons for a siesta?

The quote from Aristotle at the the beginning of the book says it all. "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit."

These are non-fiction books, geared toward adults. If you're looking for children's books that instill these principles through story, you'll want my list of 14 books that teach resilience and determination. All the books are fiction and the list is divided into picture books and chapter books, so it's easy to find what's best suited by age range. 

Today is the final day the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle is available. 

If you're still undecided about the Bundle, check out my post on why the Bundle is an excellent buy AND if you purchase the Bundle (or have already bought it),  email me and I'll send you a PDF of 14 children's books that teach resilience and determination.

Happy May!


  1. Have you checked out Sheryl Sandberg's new book? -K

    1. I haven't read it. But I did hear the interview she and Adam Grant did for On Being.