More than raising intelligent kids, parents would often say that they want nothing for their child than to grow up successful and happy. To do that, kids must become familiar with the concept of failure and be comfortable with it so that they can develop grit: passion and perseverance for long-term and meaningful goals. Experts say that more than good looks, physical health, and IQ, grit is the most significant predictor of success.
One way to develop grit is to expose your children to challenging situations that will test their mental toughness. They might fail, but as a parent, your role is to make sure they try again. Sports are a great example—you may not always win the games, but with enough practice and perseverance, you can turn any weakness into a strength.
The recent MILO FC Barcelona Camp—where 10 young Filipino athletes were some of the first to participate in an eight-day training camp with world-class coaches from the FC Barcelona Youth Academy—put on display what true grit in a child meant.
"Nestlé is committed to making a difference in the lives of Filipinos by educating them about the importance of physical activity as a part of a healthy lifestyle," says Robbie de Vera, MILO consumer marketing manager. "Participating in team sports like football is also a great way for them to learn values such as humility, effort, ambition, respect, and teamwork.
"Building on these shared values, MILO is delighted to partner with FC Barcelona to encourage more children to take part in sports and inspire them to work hard to reach for their goals."
The children on the MILO Philippine team are Lien Dale D. Manuel (Vicente Lim Elementary School), Alexander David C. Villarosa (University of San Jose-Recoletos), Breindel O. Medina (Ateneo de Davao Junior High School), Heaven Andrei N. Teodosio (Ilaya Barangka Integrated School of Mandaluyong City), Tristan Ybañez (Sacred Heart School Ateneo de Cebu), Juan Pablo S. Unlay (Ateneo de Manila), Dylan Theodore O. Wong (Keys School Manila), Carlo Antonio D. Bongocan (Rosevale School), Jelena Loren I. Soon (Singapore School Cebu), and Daniel Isaac N. Cagaanan (Koronadal Central Elementary School).
They were specially selected by an expert panel because they embody the values that both MILO and FCB espouse. Yes, even if they had the skills, their attitude and personality also played a big part in the selection process.
Apart from grit, the young athletes also shared the values and life skills they've learned through sports, including their experience in the camp.
Engaging in a sport requires focus and self-control. Training helps develop these skills, but it's their passion for the sport that will help them realize what exactly they need to improve on and how to work on it on their own. Disciplined kids are able to set goals and know where their limits lie, which can help them achieve success better and faster.
The MILO athletes say that in sports, they've learned to "always work hard" and to "never give up."
2. A routine
Training sessions are essential to improving your skills in your chosen sport. This involves having a routine, which is an important part of childhood development. Having structure fosters independence.
In the MILO FCB Camp, the kids would have to wake up in the early morning, take a bath, and have breakfast along with a glass of MILO. After eating, they would start their training session, which typically lasted the whole day.
Resilience is the ability to get back up after experiencing failure or other particularly distressing events. Sports teach you that you won't win all the time, but it does not mean you can't get better at it. If you want to succeed, you just have to work harder.
During the camp, the kids had a friendly match with the young players of Fundacion Marcet Football Academy. During the first three quarters, they were down 6-0. They were up against kids with bigger built. Plus, the weather was extremely cold at the time. "It was hard to play in the cold weather," says Pio. "It was hard to breathe, and sometimes, I would get a headache."
But the Pinoy athletes didn't want to go down without a fight. They rallied and scored one goal after another, eventually making 4 goals. They might not have won the game, but they were still happy that they did their best.
Playing sports can teach you that when you win a game, it's not just because of you. "You can't win a match if you're alone," says Carlo, one of the kids who participated in the camp. "You need to work with your team to win."
Showing respect not only to your coach but your opponents is an important trait you learn through sports.
During the camp, the young Filipino athletes interacted with delegates from Chile, Colombia, Jamaica, Malaysia, Maldives, South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago, and Venezuela. They also engaged in matches with them. Everyone treated each other with high regard, and whether their team won or lost, they showed a great deal of humility as well.
Dylan says, "Even if we lost [in the friendly match], we still showed respect to the other team. We didn’t get upset. What's important is that you "play with heart, never give up, and do your best," he adds.
Raising a child to stand on his own feet may be hard at first, but if you put your trust in them, it will happen. Remember: Strong parents raise strong kids. You can do it!