Paul Tough has written a book arguing that developing character is more critical to a child’s future success than IQ.
National Public Radio has the story: “Tough explores this idea in his new book, How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity and the Hidden Power of Character.
” ‘For some people, [the] path to college is so easy that they can get out into life and they’ve never really been challenged,’ he tells NPR’s David Greene. ‘I think they get into their 20s and 30s and they really feel lost — they feel like they never had those character-building experiences as adolescents, as kids, that really make a difference when they get to adulthood.’
“That wasn’t true for the teenagers Tough met during the time he spent in some of Chicago’s roughest neighborhoods. There, he worked with teenagers overcoming unimaginable challenges. One young woman … was getting into fights in school and was on the verge of dropping out. But then she entered an intensive mentoring program that changed her life.
” ‘She made it through high school, overcame a lot of obstacles and now is getting a cosmetology degree,’ Tough says. ‘For some people, that wouldn’t be a huge success. But for her, she overcame obstacles that won’t only set her on a path for material success, but also psychological success.’
“The difference-maker really depends on the person, Tough says. Mentoring programs that focus on goal-setting can be helpful, and he also says parents should try to help their kids manage stress from a very early age.”
Do you agree with this? Overcoming obstacles is important, but the obstacles that some of the students Tough met were so severe, I can’t help wondering if the consequences have yet to play out. I’m for kids overcoming normal, age-appropriate obstacles that are part of any life — as they say in Italy, “the things that happen to the living.”
More at NPR, here.