Our son Talmadge is in the process of getting a Master’s Degree in Positive Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. He travels to Philadelphia from Manhattan where he lives one weekend a month for in-class instruction and accomplishes the rest online.
This new field of study is revolutionary. In the past, much of the world of psychology has dealt with solutions for people with enormous problems and dysfunctional individuals and families. How great that we are moving toward what creates happiness and how what we can do to prevent the issues of depression and mental illness before they happen. With mental illness raising it’s ugly head everywhere from shootings in elementary schools to military facilities to shopping malls and the absolute epidemic of depression and many forms of mental illness unheard of 30 years ago, this new approach is desperately needed.
The level of instruction at UPenn, from stellar professors and guest speakers who are studying what makes people successful and happy and what it takes to help us accomplish our goals for finding happiness is stimulating and inspiring. One of Tal’s favorite professors is Dr. Angela Duckworth, who believes that one of the main keys to success in life is….grit!
When we see that word, we know exactly what it means. We’ve all experienced it in our own lives and we sometimes wish that our children and/or grandchildren had more of it. As we think of the friends and relatives, mentors and inspirational people that we know who have achieved success we can immediately see that it is almost always a result of the ability to conjure true grit!
Does grit come through heredity, good parenting, environment, expectations or something else? To get an idea of Angela Duckworth’s thoughts, you might want to watch her TED talk here.
We have to extend kudos to Talmadge who is demonstrating a huge supply of his own grit. He toils over multiple research-oriented papers for the class, spends large amounts of time being instructed online and in class while juggling a full-time, extremely demanding job in NYC along with spending many hours giving church service and still continues to put his wife and two-year-old daughter first. Our opinion is that this guy was born with grit and it’s beautiful to behold!