The Power of Perseverance

by Mindy Boyd

Perseverance … is it innate or is it taught?  Research suggests that while there are children who are more naturally predisposed to persist than others, persistence is actually something we as parents can promote and develop in our children. Persistence is one temperamental factor that can be improved over time. But how?  Michael Grose, a parenting educator, suggests four practical strategies:

1.       Develop a vocabulary for persistence.

Begin to incorporate words like “hang in there,” “work hard,” “keep going” and “you can do it” into your everyday vocabulary.

2.       Recognize children when they stick to a task. 

We all know it pays off to verbalize to our children when we catch them being good.  The same is true when we see them being persistent. The behaviors we focus on as parents tend to expand and occur more often when we recognize them and offer our praise. Our children need help in developing the “stickability” to work through difficulties and to hang in there when things do not go their way.

3.      Help children to remember past successes. 

Remind them of times when they persevered through something:  a school project, a comeback win while playing soccer, learning to tie their shoes, or learning those math facts. Let them know that persistence has paid off before, and that it will again.

4.      Talk about HARD WORK with your children.

Let your children know that there is a correlation between effort and success. Help them to understand that success stems from enduring and persisting through things that are not always fun or easy.

While I feel that these four strategies are practical, I cannot leave out the BEST strategy of all … Teach your children what God says about perseverance! James 1:12 says, “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him.” Help them to understand that perseverance is vital to growing in their faith and talk with them about how God desires His people to persevere no matter what happens. Through perseverance, we learn how to overcome obstacles, difficulties, trials and tribulation. All of these lead us to experiencing victory in Christ.