The Hidden Power of Character

I first heard about Paul Tough’s book “How Children Succeed” on this podcast. I distinctly remember listening to the interview about this book while on a long bus ride and scribbling Paul Tough on a piece of paper to remember for later. It was another book that made me feel energized and excited about the potential in this work.

One point that struck me was when he described how character traits, such as grit, social intelligence, and self-control, can function as a type of safety net for students who don’t have much support from their family or their community. For students who are growing up in chaotic homes and the challenges associated with living in poverty, they have had to develop character traits that help them succeed and that they can fall back on when times are difficult.

Young people in foster care who make it to college are part of a small group. When you look at how many continue on to earn their degree, the number gets even smaller. There is obviously something that these students develop that has allowed them to go through the traumatic experience that is foster care and continue to strive to reach their goals.


The Divine Fire of Youth

As Ysette said, I am very excited to share a few posts while she is enjoying her vacation. I will get to Paul Tough later this week, but wanted to start out with a new release about foster care that has been getting plenty of attention.

I bought Cris Beam’s new book “To the End of June,” last Thursday, right before Labor Day weekend. I was intrigued by the book, partially because I felt like everyone was talking about it. At first I couldn’t quite tell if “everyone” might just include people like me who have google news alerts for New York City foster care. At this point, it seems the book’s publicity has reached well beyond the child welfare world. It is a pleasant change to hear people talking about foster care without an outrageous news story sparking the conversation.