A salute to "sheer grit"

I find the History Channel series America, The Story of Us mesmerizing. In the episode on Boomers, I was struck by a couple of words used to describe the generation of Americans who prevailed in World War II and then built an infrastructure of roadways and waterways across America. Like the railways in the previous century, the roadways were constructed by manual labor and "sheer grit."

"Sheer grit" -- those words struck me. I wonder whether "sheer grit" would describe a culture that has transitioned from industrial to information-based. Grit seems less important than creativity and innovation. Yet in his book Making Ideas Happen, Scott Belsky has argued well that what separates ideas that make a difference from ideas that never see the light of day is perseverance. In other words, creativity needs grit. Even in the postmodern, information-based age, we are not going far without grit.

Also, innovation aside, life is hard. Grit is absolutely necessary to persevere through life's difficulties and challenges. I have a friend who has been unemployed for a while. Discouragement gnaws at him. I pray for him that he will persevere -- that he will have grit. Grit is an essential life skill... maybe we could even call it a spiritual virtue.

So here is my salute to "sheer grit." May we have it when we need it.


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