For years, my father kept this quote from Theodore Roosevelt hanging in his office. I have read it countless times and it always inspires me to be gritty.

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.

The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
— Theordore Roosevelt "The Man In The Arena" Excerpt from “Citizenship In A Republic” Speech delivered at the Sorbonne, in Paris, France April 23, 1910

I was struck by my Father’s model of grit from an early age. He taught by example that there is always a reason to show up and enter “the arena.” He embraced possibilities, risks and all, because he understood the value of experience. As a mother, I hope to share my father’s message that success is the process of learning and that winning is simply a byproduct of that over time. I am mindful to validate my children’s processes more then their products. I strive to model compassion for my own errors and shortfalls with the hopes they will learn to be gentle with themselves and others. For although, grit requires moving forward in life with fortitude, it is equally important to recognize when to pause and attend to our wounds.

-Laura “Wayne Gritzky” MacRae-Serpa, MFTI, CCLS has special interests in supporting children and families navigating adoption and the challenges of chronic illness.