Life Skills – How to Teach Kids Perseverance

In this post I will be going over how to teach kids about perseverance.  Perseverance is an essential ingredient for success.  People that quit everything do not get very far in life.  Setting goals is an important thing to do but without perseverance you will never reach those goals.

Teach kids perseverance in order to be successful in life
Teach kids perseverance in order to be successful in life

A karate black belt is just a white belt who never gave up.  There will be tough times along your journey in accomplishing any goal you set.  Pushing through these challenges takes perseverance.  If getting a black belt was easy, everyone who started would have one.  In actuality, less than 5% of students who start karate reach the rank of black belt.  I can guarantee that 5% have learned perseverance.

As with most, if not all, of the skills I have gone over in this series, perseverance is a skill that is taught and learned, not something you are born with.  It takes practice and encouragement.  It also takes support from those around you.  Being surrounded by people who demonstrate perseverance will go a long way in instilling this skill in young kids.

As I outlined in Part 1 of this series, the 4 steps to teaching kids life skills are: define the word, discuss what the definition means, use examples, and discuss why it is important.  If you need more detail on the process, please go back and read Part 1.

When we teach kids perseverance, start with never giving up
When we teach kids perseverance, start with never giving up

Let’s apply the process to perseverance.

  • Define the word/topic in words they understand
    • Perseverance means “Not giving up, even when facing difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement.”
    • During this step, simply have the kids repeat the definition after you 3-5 times.  Do this 2-3 times during the week.
  • Discuss what the definition means in more detail
    • Don’t quit/Encourage: in a nutshell, perseverance means to not quit.  Easier said than done, right?  We can all help one another develop perseverance by keeping each other accountable and not letting them quit.  To help someone not quit, we need to use positive encouragement. Tell them why they should not quit.  Give them an example of someone who was in the same situation who did not give up.  Parents, teachers, and family members can have a tremendous impact on improving perseverance in the kids around them.
    • Difficulties/Obstacles/Discouragement: difficulties are challenges that we face when trying to do something.  Obstacles are things that get in our way when working towards a goal.  Discouragement is when someone tells us something that makes us feel bad about ourselves and makes us want to quit.  Any one of these things may make us want to quit but having perseverance will get you through it.
    • During this step, have the kids repeat the definition after you 3-5 times then have a short discussion on the topics above.  Do this 2-3 time during the week.
  • Use examples in everyday life
    • Example of perseverance in karate: karate is filled with examples of perseverance.  Each class is physically challenging.  The instructor asks you to do things that are difficult and might not be able to do well.  After class your muscles will ache, and you will be tired.  By continuing to attend class, you will get stronger and better, but you need perseverance to get through the aches and pains that come with training.
    • Example of perseverance at school: as with karate, academic school is also filled with examples of perseverance.  When you take a test and get a poor grade you have the opportunity to demonstrate perseverance.  Do you give up altogether or do you study harder so the next time you get a better grade?
    • During this step, have the kids repeat the definition after you 3-5 times then have a short discussion on the topics above.  Feel free to replace the examples with ones of your own.  Substitute a different activity for karate if they don’t practice karate.  Be sure to ask them for an example first before providing yours.  Do this 2-3 time during the week.
  • Discuss why it is important
    • Why is it important to have perseverance?  Without perseverance, you won’t be successful in life.  If you quit everything you do you will never be good at anything.  
    • During this step, briefly go over all steps 1-3 before going into this step.  Be sure to ask the kids why they think it is important before providing them with the answer.  Do this 2-3 times during the week.
Without perseverance, things like traveling to Mars could never be possible
Without perseverance, things like traveling to Mars could never be possible

Remember, it only takes less than 5 minutes, 2-3 times a week to go through these steps.  Feel free to comment or contact me with questions.

Stay tuned for my next post which will be on how to teach kids patience.

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