I’m not a parent yet. There are several families whose children are growing up, at least in small part, at Dayton Strength. They have friends they met here for the first time. At least once a week, the Beginner’s class ends with a kid-curated obstacle course or relay race that sometimes backfires by leading to teary eyes for not wanting to the leave the gym and their friends so soon. Where it not for some of the young people I’ve met here, I wouldn’t have noticed how much our gym resembles a playground. We see it as our responsibility to make DSC a place where kids can safely explore what their bodies are capable of, and we expect parents to hold up their end of the deal by modeling the behavior they want their child to learn from them.
It was about five years ago I heard my Dad first speak about “Grit” in the context of his work as a kindergarten teacher. This “skill of trying” is the framework on which further development is built. It is learned, almost passively, like language. Children learn their first word and every word after just by listening to adults and connecting the dots. They learn how to react when situations don’t go their way by watching us. Our effort, our attention, our words, our body language. All of it gets noticed when we’re in this room surrounded by those who look up to us. Make sure you show what you want them to see.