This is a submission in our monthly contest. October’s theme is Determination. Enter your own here!

Life without grit is like eating unsalted popcorn or beginning your day with no coffee. Grit is the juice behind determination the part of you that is going to accomplish your dreams no matter what. I would say all three of my daughters have grit, an insatiable determination to live a better life than their dad and I. “You guys are so boring, you just do the same things all the time.” Perhaps according to their worlds our adult lives lack a bit of luster but what our girls may not be privy to yet, is having determination is only part of creating your vision.

You see for most of our lives, my husband and I have dug in our heels, taking on the many responsibilities and tasks a family of five can bring. Like most people, we are pretty determined to pay the bills, save money, and create a life worth living. However, life’s unexpected trials and challenges threw a few curve balls, getting us to the point where we felt like quitting the game.

Getting up off the ground and dusting yourself off certainly takes a bit of will power however, it is only through love and connection you will be able to heal the cuts and bruises these experiences bring. Now, we have all been there. The toddler who suddenly wants to do things for himself or the adolescent who looks forward to turning 18. It is normal, natural, and healthy for children to crave and desire independence. However, what they might not know now is that it will be their sense of connection to others which will help heal the wounds of their past along the way.

Try as hard as you like, nobody gets through childhood with a clean slate. For many, it will be those childhood ouches, hurts, and mishaps which get them to dream in the first place. “Dream big,” I tell my girls. “Break down your goals into manageable, realistic steps. Take time to connect. Make eye contact with friends and family, enjoy nature, make an effort to speak to others in person (particularly the hard conversations) give and offer hugs, value meal time.”

Our children may not realize it now, but it is these small rituals which serve as the backbone of their dreams. Sure, determination will keep you motivated, but love and connection is the key to inspiration.

So next time you or your child aims for the gusto, takes on a new challenge, and sets a goal, foster that sense of determination with praise and encouragement. Be mindful however, of not losing sight of how love and connection will serve each of you along the way.