Five Interesting Articles From Around the Web - Pre-college "grit", F. Scott's words of wisdom, Steve Jobs made my cry, Mindy Kaling made me laugh, and answers from Michael Pollan

I often write these posts a few days in advance. Regarding today's post, I added the Steve Jobs link last week, right after I saw his Stanford commencement speech, which literally blew me away. So even though I never knew Mr. Jobs, last night's news of his death really affected me. On the upside, there's something beautiful in knowing that he spent his life doing what he loved. May he rest in peace. And if you have a chance, take a few minutes and watch the video - I can assure that his words will stick with you in the years to come.

1. (An education in "grit")
What if the Secret to Success if Failure? (link via A Day That is Dessert). The New York Times published a fascinating article on education, profiling two different schools' attempts to incorporate "character" into the curriculum. The schools chose not to concentrate exclusively on "moral" character (good vs. evil stuff) but more on indicators of long-term success, one of which is "grit" - defined as "a passion for a single mission with an unswerving dedication to achieve that mission, whatever the obstacles and however long it might take." According to the article, "The idea of building grit and building self-control is that you get that through failure . . . . And in most highly academic environments in the United States, no one fails anything [hence they never build the tools they need to succeed].” Basically, if you want kids to succeed then you have to teach them how to deal with failure, which (oddly) makes a lot of sense to me.

2. (The wisdom of F. Scott) F Scott Fitzgerald's Guide to the Good Life - 25 Wonderful Quotes. I need to print and frame this somewhere. I think this one is my favorite - “I’m not sentimental — I’m as romantic as you are. The idea, you know, is that the sentimental person thinks things will last — the romantic person has a desperate confidence that they won’t.” ( This Side of Paradise) Or maybe this one - “‘You know, you’re a little complicated after all.’ ‘Oh no,’ she assured him hastily. ‘No, I’m not really — I’m just a — I’m just a whole lot of different simple people.” (Tender Is the Night)

3. (Mindy Kaling made me laugh) Do you watch the Office? We used to love it but I think the shark has jumped. Anyways, my absolutely favorite character is Kelly Kapoor, played by Mindy Kaling, who also writes for the show. In a recent New Yorker article, Kaling hilariously takes on the topic of romantic comedy stereotypes. Not sure if my favorite is the klutz -"despite being five feet nine and weighing a hundred and ten pounds, she is basically like a drunk buffalo who has never been a part of human society" or "The Forty-two-Year-Old Mother of the Thirty-Year-Old Male Lead." Funny. (link via Design Mom).

4. (Steve Jobs made my cry) - Steve Jobs' 2005 Stanford commencement speech has been making its way around the internet lately. It made me cry. I promise it will inspire you, regardless of whether you're a mac or a PC user. And just like the New York Times article posted above, Jobs also believes the best route to success is failure. (And click here to read the text of the speech, thanks KidFriendly DC for the site!)

5. (Answers from Michael Pollan) - Okay so I think this man is amazing. But even for you non-believers, here are his answers to a few key food questions that America keeps asking. Whether you agree or not, it's nice to hear what he has to say.

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