Grit is a word that is now synonymous with Memphis, thanks to the success of our Grizzlies, but it’s a word that should be associated with more than our NBA team. It should also indicate the kind of character we want to develop in our children.
It’s hard to think of a message that is more crucial to the future of Memphis and Shelby County. If we invest in the pivotal first three years of children’s lives, everything about our community gets better.
This month we celebrated Independence Day, the day when we commemorate the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. However, for very young children, every day is a day to celebrate independence.
There is no question that children in the first years of their lives learn from everything they do. Just as important, they’re developing attitudes toward learning that will last a lifetime. Motivation is a key part of this process.
Babies are born learners and it is curiosity which drives them to figure out the world around them and how it works. Research shows that children have an internal drive to learn. It is this natural desire, rather than external rewards, which motivates them to seek out new experiences and leads them toward becoming lifelong learners.
“I’m not good enough. I’m dumb” was the three-year-old’s answer when the teacher at his child care center asked why he didn’t want to join in the next activity with his classmates. He had drifted to the back of the room as the other children gleefully lined up for the chance to hit a ball with a bat.