Perseverance is March's Character Strong Theme

Explanation

This month we’re talking about the trait of Perseverance. The dictionary defines it as: “Persistence in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.” The definition we are using in class is:

Perseverance: the ability to work through situations even when there are obstacles or challenges in the way.

A lot of research today is telling us that the highest indicators of success in our kids isn’t just about their grades or their IQ. The number one skill that helps people of all walks of life be successful is GRIT! The ability to persevere in the face of adversity or even failure. Over the course of the month, we will talk about inspiring people who faced many failures before they found success. We will talk about what it means to navigate tough stuff, even when it feels overwhelming or really hard. We will talk about having a Growth Mindset – to see challenges and failure as an opportunity to grow instead of a brick wall.

Conversation Starters

  • What do you know about rabbits? What do you know about turtles? Which one should win if they were to have a race? Have you heard the story about the Tortoise and the Hare? The hare proudly bragged about his speed and knew that he’d win, so he rested a lot and let himself get sidetracked and distracted. The turtle took a slow and steady approach to the race, plodding along at a pace that was right for him to make sure he had stamina and endurance. In the end, it’s the turtle who wins by a hair. What is this story trying to tell us?
  • Failure is a part of Perseverance. What does it mean to fail? Can you think of a time when you failed and were not able to reach your goal? What are some ways we can respond to failure that are both positive and negative?
  • Share a personal story of Perseverance with your child. What were your challenges? What or who helped you persevere? What tangible steps did you take? What lessons did you learn?

Questions You Could Ask

  • Why do you think it’s important to keep on going, even when things get hard? Who do you think about when you hear, “Quitters never win and winners never quit?” What makes them so good at Perseverance? Do you think there’s ever a time that it’d be okay to quit?
  • Discuss a time in your life when you persevered even though it may have been difficult. What happened and how did you feel? What did you learn from the experience?
  • What’s a challenge for you right now? What’s the hardest part? What are some resources – people, strategies, tools, inspiration – that could help you? What’s one step we can take together to overcome this challenge?

Application

Books

  • The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires The main character in the story is working on a project. She has her plan in mind, but it is not working out the way she wants it to! Watch what happens as she uses Perseverance to finish her project.
  • A Beautiful Oops by Barney Saltzberg Sometimes, things don’t go as planned! Read along to see how mistakes can be turned into masterpieces.
  • Flight School by Lita Judge A persevering little penguin is determined to fly like all the other birds, so he joins a flight school. Throughout the book, he never gives up. With a little technical support, he finally is able to fulfill his dream of flying!
  • The Water Princess by Susan Verde In a small African village, clean drinking water isn’t available so Princess Gie Gie makes the long journey to the well. Instead of wearing a crown on her head, Gie Gie wears a heavy pot to collect water in. Many people, including Gie Gie, walk for miles each day to collect clean drinking water, which shows Perseverance and determination! This book also sheds light on the struggle that continues all over the world today, instilling hope for a future when all children will have access to clean drinking water.
  • Leo The Late Bloomer by Robert Kraus Little Leo is having trouble doing anything right, but his mom knows that it’s just because he’s a late bloomer. Will watching for signs of blooming help him bloom any more quickly?
  • Dream Big, Little Pig by Kristi Yamaguchi Ice-skating Olympian Kristi Yamaguchi scores a gold medal with this story about a waddling pig named Poppy who has a big, BIG dream to be a star. But will she have what it takes even when it’s not as easy as it looks, to slide and glide her way to queen of the ice?

Videos

  • The Very Busy Spider A spider works diligently to spin her web. Despite numerous animals trying to distract her, she perseveres to finish the job.
  • Of Thee I Sing In a touching letter to his daughters, Barack Obama chronicles heroes who used Perseverance to shape our world, all the while connecting the gifts of each historical figure with those he sees in his children. The book is a lovely window into how Perseverance has changed our nation as well as a mirror for students to see this possibility in themselves.

Activity

Set a family mindfulness mantra to help you persevere when you’re tempted to give up. Consider these: Just keep swimming. Stick with it. Keep on keeping on. Change the plan, not the goal. Keep your eye on the prize. Encourage and help your child to write your family mantra on several 3×5 cards and post them around the house to keep them visible and use them to check in every few days.

For Your Reading

Check out Mindset by Carol Dweck, this Growth Mindset post, and Why Mindset Matters. Helping children deal with challenges is a big part of Perseverance. Read this article to learn ways you can help your child cope with challenges.