Well, I always thought it would be my Grit + Grace chapter book series for elementary readers that would debut the character trait combination of grit AND grace, but it seems Meryl Streep beat me to it:
Q: What does it take to be the 1st female anything?
A: It takes GRIT and it takes GRACE.
Meryl Streep, Democratic National Convention, July 26, 2016
So ahead of my books, the combined character traits of grit and grace have officially debuted in mainstream American culture. When Meryl Streep (aka Miranda Priestly, The Iron Lady, Julia Childs) shouts it from the mountaintop of the DNC podium when speaking of Democratic Presidential Nominee Hillary Clinton, people take notice.
These are old words with refreshed meaning that have burst into mainstream lexicon to describe any person’s character let alone a politician. But how did this come to be and what does it really mean to have grit and to have grace anyway?
I have been a child anthropologist for 18+ plus years. That is a fancy way of saying I have been working in K-12 education observing, teaching and reflecting on character development and performance traits for close to two decades. I have been there for the rise and fall of the self-esteem movement, debates on how to build resiliency, empathy and compassion in children and I have personally championed the positive psychology movement, which includes the nurture and growth of grit and grace. If you had a chance to read Angela Duckworth’s book Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance released May 2016, then you have a strong understanding of grit (I highly recommend it as excellent life hack read for sure). But if you are not up for 352 pages of grittiness, here are cliff notes of what exactly is grit and what exactly is grace.
Grit: Humans are endowed with great gifts, some genetically bestowed: speed, perfect pitch, and a photographic memory. But there is an additional, more elusive gift that can create greatness, not from DNA-embossed talent, but out of sheer determination: that is grit. Grit is having the passion, stamina and perseverance, day in and day out, through good and through bad -- whatever the outcome -- to create a desired future reality.
Grace: Grace is a powerful representation of an eastern and western theological past and a more behavior-based present. Today, grace is a way of being in the world: Love, gratitude, kindness, vulnerability and self-possession are the surest signs of its’ presence. Conversely, anxiety, entitlement, pessimism, self-doubt, and selfishness will forever block the flow of grace.