Let’s Stop Un-Grittifying Our Students
Stephen Carter
June 24, 2024
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Let’s Stop Un-Grittifying Our Students

In a recent conversation with Meg Oré—a former student of mine, an educator, and a young mother—the topic turned toward teaching the entrepreneurial mindset to children:

“I really believe kids are born gritty and we un-grittify them in toddlerhood by shying away from productive struggle.”

Meg immediately explained that a real word should be used other than “un-grittify” but I was intrigued—it turns out that the dictionary recognizes the word “ungritty” which sets a precedent for the modified ending. Regardless, Meg’s statement rings with an unfortunate truth: we are so quick to protect our children that we often make things too convenient for them rather than encouraging them to struggle. It is the struggle, after all, that provides the development of grit.

Let’s face it—kids are born with a growth mindset. Early on, babies, after watching siblings and parents saunter around on two legs, give walking a try. To my knowledge, this has never ended in success after the first effort. The baby struggles, stands, topples, and falls. Imagine at this point, if the child simply said, “well, I suppose walking is just not for me,” and apathetically moved on to other interests.

Absurd! The baby tries again and again and again, falling each and every time, until walking becomes successful. More important than walking itself, however, is the learning that comes from the process. The child is understanding on a deep level that “failure” is a natural part of the path to success. The child is learning that the path to success requires the grit to get up again and again and keep trying. The child is embracing, essentially, the entrepreneurial mindset.

This means our task, as educators, is less about “teaching” or “instilling” the entrepreneurial mindset and more about “encouraging” or “developing” it. At the very least, it is about “not quenching it.” Maybe it’s okay for our kids to be bored (isn’t this the pre-requisite great ideation?). Maybe it’s okay for them to fall down and get bruised, to get picked last for the sporting event, to receive a less than stellar grade. Maybe this is our way to keep from “un-grittifying” them.

The Future of Education is Bright Indeed!


Students in our teaching kitchen learning growth mindset through culinary arts

Announcing the Dates for the 2025 CHCA Entrepreneurship Symposium

The wait is over—mark your calendars and get ready because the 2025 CHCA Entrepreneurship Symposium will blow you away. Whether you will be a first-time attendee or a three-year veteran, you’ll find clear takeaways and actionable items along with a big dose of inspiration.

March 6 and 7, 2025, we will be hosting school leaders from around the nation to come together around creating meaningful and impactful entrepreneurship programs to engage students, rally communities, and supercharge donors.

This event sold out last year, so don’t wait to get your tickets—any schools who register by the end of July will receive early bird pricing. Email Stephen Carter ( to RSVP.


Imagine your culture infused with growth mindset, grit, redefining failure, and opportunity seeking. Imagine your team acting and thinking like entrepreneurs.
Stephen Carter

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