The idea of grit has been a popular topic in education recently. Its popularity is largely owed to psychologist Dr. Angela Lee Duckworth and her book, Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, as well as her famous TED talk on the importance of grit. She defines "grit" as "perseverance and passion for long-term goals" and argues that grit predicts success more reliably than talent or I.Q.
At the Wilberforce School, we challenge and encourage our students to have a growth mindset, and to be "gritty" about achieving their goals. At the same time, we remind them that, as Christians, the ultimate goal of our grit is not necessarily success in the eyes of the world, but success in the eyes of God. Grit towards such a goal is possible because it is empowered by the grace of God.
This summer, I reread John Piper's book, The Roots of Endurance: Invincible Perseverance in the Lives of John Newton, Charles Simeon, and William Wilberforce. I was impressed once again of the godly grit that these three men possessed. Piper writes, "nothing was more important for John Newton, Charles Simeon, and William Wilberforce than the centrality of the cross as the root of endurance." They did exactly what Hebrews 12:1-2 calls us to do: "Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross." It seemed even more fitting for Wilberforce to be the namesake of our private school.
The mission of the Wilberforce School is to provide a distinctly Christian education characterized by academic excellence and joyful discovery within a classical framework. We pray that our students, like Wilberforce, will be joyfully passionate, persevere when things get difficult, and live a life that is marked by excellence, with love for Jesus Christ at the root of their grit.