Thursday, September 18, 2014

Teaching the Character Trait of Perseverance / Determination / Grit

In our homeschool this year, we are spotlighting a character trait each month. A couple days a week for an entire month we will read a story or watch a video and discuss that character trait in greater detail. The idea is that by talking about it, seeing it in action, and reinforcing it all month, that the concepts will really start to sink into their souls.  

One of the first character traits we are talking about this year is that of determination, which is something that I very much would like for my kids to develop. We live in a world where getting distracted and making excuses for our shortcomings is all too easily accepted and I think it is a valuable skill in life to be able to face challenges head-on instead of allowing ourselves to quit at the first sign of challenge or difficulty. Below you will find some of the resources I've gathered to help teach this trait during the month. I would love to hear any ideas or resources you would recommend as well, so feel free to leave those in the comments.


*Mormon Messages: about how hard work and determination can make a difference

*Short video about persevering:


*Aesop's Fables:The Hare and the Tortoise (online version)--about the value of pushing forward, even when the odds are stacked against you

*Aesop's Fables: The Crow and the Pitcher (online version)--about continuing to try, even when it seems hopeless and also about sometimes having to think outside the box and searching for less obvious solutions

*Nephi getting the plates (the first section of this seminary lesson is perfect to tie it all together)

Here's a short video about Nephi getting the plates


*The Value of Determination: The Story of Helen Keller

*Story of Abraham Lincoln and the incredible odds he overcame to become president of the US (Stand Tall, Abe Lincoln is a good book)


visit a ropes course together as a family
A good ropes course will have different levels of challenges that can get progressively more difficult as children gain confidence and experience. Additionally many ropes course employees are willing to work in inspirational thoughts or scriptures to their activities and/or create situations where cooperation and perseverance is required.


*A book that is a  good resource for parents: How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character

*This is a  short TED talk about the importance of grit in students' success in school.  I really liked the recommendation to teach kids about how the brain is not a stagnant organ, but that its capacity actually grows  as we use and challenge it.  


“Perseverance means to continue in a given course until we have reached a goal or objective, regardless of obstacles, opposition, and other counterinfluences...Perseverance is a positive, active characteristic...It gives us hope by helping us realize that the righteous suffer no failure except in giving up and no longer trying.”
― Joseph B. Wirthlin

“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saing, ‘I will try again tomorrow.’”
--Mary Anne Radmacher