The British Statesman Winston Churchill is credited with more than one motivational quote. Perhaps the most famous is “Never, never, never give up.” Although repeating the word “never” might be a little too dramatic, the quality of perseverance is one that is worth instilling in your child.
• The ability to stick to a task might be more of a predictor of success than innate ability.
A professor of psychology at Florida State University found that “individual achievement was more closely linked to drive, discipline, and dedication than to talent.”
• Encourage your child when he or she wants to give up.
One way is to applaud the process as well as the product. When you compliment the process, i.e. practicing the spelling words, and not the grade on the spelling test, the product, you are encouraging an attribute that will have positive results into adulthood – perseverance.
• Teach your child how to break down a difficult task into smaller pieces.
These will be easier to accomplish and less overwhelming. The more manageable pieces help the child relax and see that success is possible.
• Help your child understand what is and is not failure.
Consider the words of the popular poster: “You always miss the shots you fail to take.” Or this quote from Thomas Edison, “ I have not failed. I have found 10,000 ways that did not work.” (on his pursuit of inventing the light bulb)
• Let your child lead when it comes to discovering his or her passion.
Personal passion can fuel perseverance. If a child is excited about something he is more likely to want to learn about that topic. Too many times a parent encourages a child to follow the passion of the parent and not the child.
• And the reminder that never grows old: Be a positive role model.
The odds are great you have encountered more than one hurdle in your life. Let your kids know about your struggles and the successes that came because of perseverance. Your example will speak volumes!