I was recently reading a book by Angela Duckworth that had an interesting concept called the Hard Thing Rule.
Before I get to that, here is Duckworth’s bio: Angela Lee Duckworth is an American academic, psychologist and popular science author. She is the Christopher H. Browne Distinguished Professor of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, where she studies grit and self-control.
So what about that Hard Thing Rule for parents?
She notes the Hard Thing Rule has 3 parts. The first is that everyone – including mom and dad has to do a hard thing. A hard thing is something that requires daily deliberate practice. She practices yoga. Dad runs. The second part – You can quit. But you can’t quit until the season is over, the tuition payment is up, or some other “natural” stopping point has arrived. In other words you can’t quit when the teacher or coach yells at you, or you lose a race, etc… You can’t quit on a bad day. Finally, you get to pick your Hard Thing and no one else gets to choose it for you.
As I read about this I felt it had merit. How many times have we seen parents living through their kids in some activity that the kid has no desire to be a part of. And worse, is berated if they mention quitting or show a lack of desire. On the other hand, there are those that allow their kids to quit when the going gets tough, creating a society that would never make it through another great depression when shear grit and determination were the keys of the day.
I’m thankful that my parents practiced the Hard Thing Rule long before it was a thing. I give them credit for my grit and determination that has led to my Walter Mitty life that you can read about here. I believe that the Hard Rule Thing is something all kids and parents could benefit from.
Seriously parents, when is the last time you took on something that was seriously HARD as an example of grit and determination for your kids?
Me? I ran 72 miles in a 48 hour endurance race. Leave yours in the comments.