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How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character by Paul Tough
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How Children Succeed Quotes (showing 1-30 of 71)
“What matters most in a child's development, they say, is not how much information we can stuff into her brain in the first few years. What matters, instead, is whether we are able to help her develop a very different set of qualities, a list that includes persistence, self-control, curiosity, conscientiousness, grit and self-confidence.”
Paul Tough, How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character
“The part of the brain most affected by early stress is the prefrontal cortex, which is critical in self-regulatory activities of all kinds, both emotional and cognitive. As a result, children who grow up in stressful environments generally find it harder to concentrate, harder to sit still, harder to rebound from disappointments, and harder to follow directions. And that has a direct effect on their performance in school.”
Paul Tough, How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character
“the key channel through which early adversity causes damage to developing bodies and brains is stress.”
Paul Tough, How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character
“The idea of building grit and building self-control is that you get that through failure,” Randolph told me. “And in most highly academic environments in the United States, no one fails anything.”
Paul Tough, How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character
“Pessimists, Seligman wrote, tend to react to negative events by explaining them as permanent, personal, and pervasive. (Seligman calls these “the three P’s.”) Failed a test? It’s not because you didn’t prepare well; it’s because you’re stupid. If you get turned down for a date, there’s no point in asking someone else; you’re simply unlovable. Optimists, by contrast, look for specific, limited, short-term explanations for bad events, and as a result, in the face of a setback, they’re more likely to pick themselves up and try again.”
Paul Tough, How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character
“Overloading the HPA axis, especially in infancy and childhood, produces all kinds of serious and long-lasting negative effects—physical, psychological, and neurological.”
Paul Tough, How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character
“What matters, instead, is whether we are able to help her develop a very different set of qualities, a list that includes persistence, self-control, curiosity, conscientiousness, grit, and self-confidence. Economists refer to these as noncognitive skills, psychologists call them personality traits, and the rest of us sometimes think of them as character.”
Paul Tough, How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character
“Optimists, by contrast, look for specific, limited, short-term explanations for bad events, and as a result, in the face of a setback, they’re more likely to pick themselves up and try again.”
Paul Tough, How Children Succeed
“Any time you need to use the term hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal in order to make your point, you’ve got trouble.”
Paul Tough, How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character
“People high in conscientiousness get better grades in high school and college; they commit fewer crimes; and they stay married longer.”
Paul Tough, How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character
“How do our experiences in childhood make us the adults we become? It is one of the great human questions, the theme of countless novels, biographies, and memoirs;”
Paul Tough, How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character
“Wealthy parents today, she argues, are more likely than others to be emotionally distant from their children while at the same time insisting on high levels of achievement, a potentially toxic blend of influences that can create “intense feelings of shame and hopelessness” in affluent children.”
Paul Tough, How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character
“the most fruitful time to transform pessimistic children into optimistic ones was “before puberty, but late enough in childhood so that they are metacognitive”
Paul Tough, How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character
“Heckman discovered that when you consider all kinds of important future outcomes—annual income, unemployment rate, divorce rate, use of illegal drugs—GED recipients look exactly like high-school dropouts, despite the fact that they have earned this supposedly valuable extra credential, and despite the fact that they are, on average, considerably more intelligent than high-school dropouts.”
Paul Tough, How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character
“We “activate a physiological system that has evolved for responding to acute physical emergencies,” Sapolsky writes, “but we turn it on for months on end, worrying about mortgages, relationships, and promotions.”
Paul Tough, How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character
“the child of a supermom who gets lots of extra tutoring and one-on-one support is going to do way better than an average well-loved child. But what Blair’s and Evans’s research suggests is that regular good parenting—being helpful and attentive during a game of Jenga—can make a profound difference for a child’s future prospects.”
Paul Tough, How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character
“The other thing that is underemphasized in the Minnesota study, Lieberman said, is the fact that parents can overcome histories of trauma and poor attachment; that they can change their approach to their children from one that produces anxious attachment to one that promotes secure attachment and healthy functioning. Some parents can accomplish this transformation on their own, Lieberman said, but most need help.”
Paul Tough, How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character
“Tools of the Mind, by contrast, doesn’t focus much on reading and math abilities. Instead, all of its interventions are intended to help children learn a different kind of skill: controlling their impulses, staying focused on the task at hand, avoiding distractions and mental traps, managing their emotions, organizing their thoughts. The founders of Tools of the Mind believe that these skills, which they group together under the rubric self-regulation, will do more to lead to positive outcomes for their students, in first grade and beyond, than the traditional menu of pre-academic skills.”
Paul Tough, How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character
“agreeableness, extraversion, neuroticism, openness to experience, and conscientiousness. And”
Paul Tough, How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character
“And so these three facts came together to form a powerful syllogism for people who cared about poverty: First, scores on achievement tests in school correlate strongly with life outcomes, no matter what a student’s background. Second, children in low-income homes did much worse on achievement tests than children in middle-income and high-income homes. And third, certain schools, using a very different model than traditional public schools, were able to substantially raise the achievement-test scores of low-income children. The conclusion: if we could replicate on a big, national scale the accomplishments of those schools, we could make a huge dent in poverty’s impact on children’s success.”
Paul Tough, How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character
“The problem, as Randolph has realized, is that the best way for a young person to build character is for him to attempt something where there is a real and serious possibility of failure. In a high-risk endeavor, whether it’s in business or athletics or the arts, you are more likely to experience colossal defeat than in a low-risk one—but you’re also more likely to achieve real and original success. “The idea of building grit and building self-control is that you get that through failure,” Randolph explained.”
Paul Tough, How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character
“Chemistry is not destiny, certainly. But these scientists have demonstrated that the most reliable way to produce an adult who is brave and curious and kind and prudent is to ensure that when he is an infant, his hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis functions well. And how do you do that? It is not magic. First, as much as possible, you protect him from serious trauma and chronic stress; then, even more important, you provide him with a secure, nurturing relationship with at least one parent and ideally two. That's not the whole secret of success, but it is a big, big part of it.”
Paul Tough, How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character
“Pure IQ is stubbornly resistant to improvement after about age eight. But executive functions and the ability to handle stress and manage strong emotions can be improved, sometimes dramatically, well into adolescence and even adulthood.”
Paul Tough, How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character
“character strengths that matter so much to young people’s success are not innate; they don’t appear in us magically, as a result of good luck or good genes. And they are not simply a choice. They are rooted in brain chemistry, and they are molded, in measurable and predictable ways, by the environment in which children grow”
Paul Tough, How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character
“when children reach early adolescence, what motivates them most effectively isn’t licking and grooming–style care but a very different kind of attention. Perhaps what pushes middle-school students to concentrate and practice as maniacally as Spiegel’s chess players do is the unexpected experience of someone taking them seriously, believing in their abilities, and challenging them to improve themselves.”
Paul Tough, How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character
“Where the typical conservative argument on poverty falls short is that it often stops right there: Character matters . . . and that’s it. There’s not much society can do until poor people shape up and somehow develop better character. In the meantime, the rest of us are off the hook. We can lecture poor people, and we can punish them if they don’t behave the way we tell them to, but that’s where our responsibility ends.”
Paul Tough, How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character
“Parents and other caregivers who are able to form close, nurturing relationships with their children can foster resilience in them that protects them from many of the worst effects of a harsh early environment. This message can sound a bit warm and fuzzy, but it is rooted in cold, hard science. The effect of good parenting is not just emotional or psychological, the neuroscientists say; it is biochemical.”
Paul Tough, How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character
“Stress physiologists have found a biological explanation for this phenomenon as well. The part of the brain most affected by early stress is the prefrontal cortex, which is critical in self-regulatory activities of all kinds, both emotional and cognitive. As a result, children who grow up in stressful environments generally find it harder to concentrate, harder to sit still, harder to rebound from disappointments, and harder to follow directions. And that has a direct effect on their performance in school. When you’re overwhelmed by uncontrollable impulses and distracted by negative feelings, it’s hard to learn the alphabet. And in fact, when kindergarten teachers are surveyed about their students, they say that the biggest problem they face is not children who don’t know their letters and numbers; it is kids who don’t know how to manage their tempers or calm themselves down after a provocation.”
Paul Tough, How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character
“We now know that early stress and adversity can literally get under a child’s skin, where it can cause damage that lasts a lifetime. But there is also some positive news in this research. It turns out that there is a particularly effective antidote to the ill effects of early stress, and it comes not from pharmaceutical companies or early-childhood educators but from parents. Parents and other caregivers who are able to form close, nurturing relationships with their children can foster resilience in them that protects them from many of the worst effects of a harsh early environment. This message can sound a bit warm and fuzzy, but it is rooted in cold, hard science. The effect of good parenting is not just emotional or psychological, the neuroscientists say; it is biochemical.”
Paul Tough, How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character
“resourcefulness, resilience, ambition, professionalism, and integrity.”
Paul Tough, How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character

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