Easier Said Than Done
One of Sammy Rabbit’s iconic sayings is “Do Not Give Up”. “Never give up” is easier said than done. Since childhood, we’ve heard the importance of perseverance, but with life’s many twists and turns, it may have seemed necessary to abandon some of our brightest and wildest dreams for tangible goals. As the voices who once said we were capable of anything shift to reminders of responsibility and obligation, it is easy to let go of our dreams. In other words, it seems simpler to stop persevering.
So should we just give up? Or should we remind ourselves with perseverance, our dreams remain within our reach? It takes tremendous determination to power through doubt and silence the noise, especially when that noise emanates from well-intended loved ones. I think it’s important to remind ourselves and the children in our lives that life’s many obstacles, setbacks, and obligations don’t have to hinder us, but can empower us to achieve and even exceed our goals.
It takes tremendous determination to power through doubt and silence the noise, especially when that noise emanates from well-intended loved ones.
My Perseverance Heroine
When I think of perseverance my thoughts turn to Oprah Winfrey. Her life story is well documented and beyond incredible. I think of her many “failures”, an impoverished childhood, abusive adolescence, being fired from news stations, and being told that her physical appearance would hinder her from living her best life. But she silenced the voices that told her no by proving them wrong. She dreamed and dreamed big, pressed forward with an urgent sense of determination, and learned from her failures until all she knew was unequivocal success.
Teach Kids to Persevere
I want to encourage parents, teachers, and community leaders to keep in mind the transformative powers of perseverance when working with children. Prompting kids to dream big and set goals is an excellent strategy to instill grit into their being. It is even more effective when you invest time by getting genuinely and consistently involved in their lives. Offer advice as they brainstorm and plan. With time and practice, skill will emerge. Positive thought patterns and habits will develop. This will lead to tenacity. As author and University of Penn professor, Angela Duckworth says, “Grit can be learned, practiced, and encouraged”. With perseverance and grit, we can conquer the world. We can all be heroines and heroes.