I recently came across an article which stated that children’s intelligence is not the greatest predictor of their future success; it is their perseverance, or “grit.” It is not too soon to help foster perseverance in your children!
There are many Bible verses that refer to perseverance. Romans 5:2-5 says, “Through Him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” I’m certain that you are thinking of your own favorite verse about perseverance right now.
How can we help develop perseverance in our children?
Model it for them. Show them that you do not give up easily when a challenge is presented. Talk through the process from start to finish to help them see how to persevere through something hard. *Important note: Do not do it for them!
Encourage them but do not offer empty praise, like “Good job.” Praise them specifically for their effort or the hard work they demonstrated within a project, a difficult assignment, or a chore.
Allow them to struggle through the difficulty. Remember Becca’s talk from Paideia about The Good, Hard Work and the emperor moth? We don’t want to cripple our kids’ wings.
Help them to understand that you are counting on them to do what they say they’re going to do. This will not only help them to persevere, but will help develop your trust in them.
Talk to them or read stories about people who have persevered through great trials or challenges. The Bible is chock full of examples of great men and women who demonstrated perseverance! Job, Joshua, Jeremiah, and Jesus come to mind; there are so many more. If your children are older, you can share a summary of the book Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand. It’s the incredible biography of Louis Zamperini, who survived more than two years as a POW and forgave his greatest tormentors after attending a Billy Graham revival.
Let them know that it’s okay to make mistakes. Sometimes it is through this trial and error phase that perseverance develops in us. Showing our kids that we are fallible gives them the confidence to keep going, try a different approach, or course correct along the way.
Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,