I had a 100 house paper route when I was 14 growing up in Ohio. It taught me about running a micro business and as part of that I developed grit. I define grit as the ability to persevere when things get tough. It’s part of character development.

My first lesson in grit was when some of the bundled papers from bulk delivery for the local routes were stolen including mine. I had to walk back home (no cell phones) and call the Beacon Journal and report the theft then go back to the delivery point to wait for the truck. As I recall, the newspaper covered the first theft but afterwards I would have to pay for the replacement papers from my customer payment collections.

The solution to the problem was mine to solve. No amount of complaining, yelling, anger, indignation or thoughts of how unjust this was would bring those papers back to me. I was determined to get to the drop point as close as I could to the delivery truck’s drop off time of the papers. It was my route, my responsibility to my customers. It was not my parent’s route, as they explained to me when I got it. There was no one to whine to, to complain to so it was up to me to figure out how to adjust to the negative aspects of the behavior of relatively few humans – thankfully.

Is grit missing in our society? The ability to deal with set-backs gracefully and with 100% ownership for them and then to set out to correct them? I was certainly “offended” when someone stole my papers but the societal construct back in the day didn’t allow me to claim, let alone maintain a victim status or to make it part of my identity. The onus was on me to fix the problem and was expected to grow from the experience while continuing to serve the common good. (my customers)

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