If you ask Angela Lee Duckworth, she’ll tell you that successful people are not the smartest, the prettiest, nor the most privileged. Rather, they are the ones who have the most grit.
Luciana, your life will give you lemons, lemonade and everything in between. I hope that along with kindness, generosity and humor, we can show you the merits of tenacity and perseverance. Not that I am the paradigm of grit, but I certainly do admire it in others.
You, my kiddo, will collect many bumps, bruises, breaks and bloody body parts as you learn to stand, walk, run, ride, catch, flip, dribble, serve and spar. Each one will be a badge of honor for the life you’ve lived.
Many doors will shut in your face when selling Girl Scout cookies or cookie dough or Christmas baubles. Even more when applying for colleges, scholarships and memberships. More still when looking for that perfect career. Each one will be a badge of honor for the life you’ve lived.
People will break your tender heart: cut you from a sports team, take something that isn’t theirs, or defenestrate your friendship unexpectedly. Each instance will be a badge of honor for the life you’ve lived.
Your life will present you with a myriad of choices: steal the gum, cheat on the test, get in a fight. Sometimes you will choose wisely and sometimes not. Sometimes you will face consequences and atone accordingly. Each time will be a badge of honor for the life you’ve lived.
There will be moments when your fear is so present that your heartbeat thumps in the back of your throat. But then you’ll stick up to that bully, give that graduation speech or protect your sister in arms from enemy fire. Each moment will be a badge of honor for the life you’ve lived.
Luciana, I know that you will earn those gold stars, blue ribbons and first place trophies. But I also hope that you get to applaud your competitors from the sidelines every once in a while, are rejected for a role in the school play, get mortified, experience loss, are dumped, miss the bus, get an “F”, and, by golly, sing the wrong verse of the National Anthem in front of a fully packed stadium. Each will be a badge of honor for the life you’ve lived.
Teddy Roosevelt said “Courage is not having the strength to go on; it is going on when you don’t have the strength.” He also said “The unforgivable crime is soft hitting”, but let’s just focus on the courage piece for the time being…