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March 2011 – Perseverance


Not giving up.  Steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state, etc., especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement.

Perseverance means that you focus on the end result and not on the pitfalls that will come. Perseverance is difficult in itself.  It is certainly one thing that will help you to achieve your goals.

“Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after the other” ~Walter Elliot

“Stay the course, light a star, Change the world wherever you are.” ~Richard Le Gallienne

“Try and fail, but don’t fail to try.” ~Stephen Kaggwa

“Energy and persistence conquer all things.” ~Benjamin Franklin

“Age wrinkles the body. Quitting wrinkles the soul.” ~Douglas MacArthur

Help Your Child to Persevere

Teaching your child to persevere is an important aspect of their personal skills and development. Preparing a child with the emotional tools to succeed in life is one of the parent’s most difficult jobs and teaching perseverance is no exception. Some children are more inclined to persevere than others, but all can learn some aspects of this trait.

Encourage from the sidelines. Say to them, “I know you can figure it out, I have confidence in you. You’re a smart kid.” This will boost their confidence and self esteem, giving them enough emotional steam to persevere to the task’s completion. Then watch your child’s self esteem grow when they accomplish what they thought was impossible.

Many historians feel that one of Winston Churchill’s greatest speeches was given at a graduation ceremony at Oxford University. He had worked on the speech for hours. When the moment finally came, Churchill stood up to the cheering crowd, and in a strong, clear voice shouted just three words, “Never give up!” He paused a few seconds and shouted the words again, “Never give up!” He then reached for his hat and slowly walked off the podium, satisfied that he had told the graduates the messages they needed to succeed.

We need to make sure we pass on Churchill’s message to our own children. Only when children realize that success comes from hard work and diligence will they be the best they can be.

1. Define “perseverance.”
Take time to explain that perseverance means “not giving up” or “hanging in there until you complete the task you started.” When your child sticks to a task, point it out: “There’s perseverance for you. You hung in there with your work even though it was hard.”

2. Teach “don’t give up” words.
Help your child tune in to the language of persevering individuals so that he can learn to use the terms in his own life.  Ask, “What are the kinds of things you heard people who ‘don’t give up’ say?”  Write a list of phrases, such as “I can do it!” “I’ll try again,” “Don’t give up!” “I don’t quit!” and “I’ll give it the best I have.”  Hang up the poster; encourage everyone to say at least one phrase a day.

3. Model effort.
Take a pledge, especially this month, to show your child how you don’t give up on a task even when things get difficult.  Before starting a new task, make sure your child overhears you say, “I’m going to persevere until I am successful.”  Modeling the trait is always the number one teaching method.

4. Start a family “Never give up!” motto.
Begin using the family motto “Don’t quit until you succeed.”  Together as a family brainstorm about  anthems about perseverance, such as “Try, try, and try again and then you will win,” “In this family, we finish what we start,” and “Quitters never win.”  Write them on index cards, and tape them on your child’s bedroom walls.  Develop your own family anthem as a reminder that your family code of behavior is to never give up.

5. Create a “Stick to It” award.
Ask your child to help you find a stick at least the length of a ruler to acknowledge “stick-to-itiveness”.  You can use an old broomstick or a yardstick.  Print “Stick to It Award” across the stick or dowel with a black marking pen.  Now tell everyone to be on alert for family members showing special persistence for the next month.  Each night have a family gathering to announce the names of family members who didn’t give up, and print their initials on the stick with a marking pen.  Make sure to tell the recipients exactly what they did to deserve the award. Make it a contest to see how long it takes to fill the stick with family members’ initials. Many children love to count how often their initials appear on the stick!

Children learn best through repetition, so why not make perseverance your family theme of the month? Print the word “Perseverance” on a large poster and hang it on your refrigerator as a reminder and then everyday take a few minutes to point out to your kids why it is such an important trait of success.

Books to Share With Children

Read books that illustrate and encourage perseverance. Check your library for some of those listed here. Each one provides opportunities to discuss the results of persevering.

  • Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper
  • A Girl Named Helen Keller by Margo Lundell
  • Jonathan Livingston Seagull  By Richard Bach
  • Story of Hercules by Bob Blaisdell
  • Trumpet of the Swan  by E.B. White
  • Crooked Colt by C.W. Anderson
  • Potato: A Tale from the Great Depression by Kate Lied
  • Amber on the Mountain by Tony Johnson
  • Inch and Miles: The Journey to Success by  John Wooden
  • Amazing Grace  by Marry Hoffman
  • Charlie’s Story: Out of the Weeds by Russell Cranek
  • Being Teddy Roosevelt by Claudia Mills