Perseverance and Success
There is a famous expression: When the going gets tough, the tough get going! In other words, when the situation becomes difficult, the strong will work harder to meet the challenge. The trait that
allows someone to continue trying to do something even though it is difficult is the definition of Perseverance. Perseverance may determine our chances of success more than any other single characteristic, and is essential to accomplishing what you want in life. As children, many of us learned about perseverance from the classic children’s book The Little Engine that Could, about a little steam engine that had the determination to pull a long train of cars up a steep hill, despite how difficult it was.The little engine never gave up and kept repeating “I think I can, I think I can”. He was practicing perseverance, finishing what he started, even when faced with a difficult situation. Parent’s magazine, Marie Faust Evitt feels that one way to foster a “can do” attitude is to help your child learn to set goals and meet them one small step at a time. When kids develop positive attitudes toward challenges, they learn to believe in themselves and what they can accomplish.
Psychologist, Angela Lee Ducksworth, uses the word Grit to describe perseverance. “Grit is passion and an unflagging commitment to a long term goal. Grit is living life like it is a marathon and not a sprint”. Through extensive research, Ducksworth has found that more than IQ or talent or any other factor, Grit is the #1 predictor of a person’s success. Parenting expert, Dr. Michele Borba, believes that perseverance is often the critical distinction between whether kids succeed or fail. Children who learn to bounce back and not let setbacks get them down have gained a valuable skill for life. After thousands of efforts to make the electric light bulb, Thomas Edison said “I haven’t failed, I’ve identified 10,000 ways that it doesn’t work”. Failure occurs only when we quit or stop trying.
Summer camp is a setting where perseverance is encouraged and practiced each and every day, as campers take on challenges and set personal goals. Campers are often introduced to activities that are new to them, and mastering these activities takes time and determination. Campers may want to learn to water ski, make it to the top of the climbing wall, improve skills on the lacrosse field, or overcome fears by performing in the theatre production. Camp is a great place to set goals, and practice skills in a safe and supportive environment. It’s always rewarding to watch campers overcome obstacles through hard work and perseverance.
To inspire the importance of hard work and perseverance all year long, it’s helpful to:
Set Goals: Having goals keeps kids engaged as they learn new skills and overcome obstacles.
Break the goal down: One step at a time will help a child feel less overwhelmed.
Encourage and Reward Practice: Encourage and reward the effort and practice more than the accomplishment.
Offer Support: Achieving goals is challenging and can be emotionally charged, make sure to listen and support all efforts made.
And as Winston Churchill said “Never Give Up”!