What Is Perseverance?

By Sensei Serge Sognonvi and Carmen Sognonvi
Originally published at http://www.urbandojo.com/blog

What Is Perseverance? A Definition of PerseveranceIt’s the beginning of a new month, and that means it’s time for a new Powerful Word!

Throughout June 2011, we’ll be working on the concept of “perseverance.”

All our discussions and activities will aim to help our students understand what it means to never quit, and to stick with your goals until they are achieved.

Powerful Words is the name of our character development curriculum here at Urban Martial Arts. It’s designed by one of the nation’s leading childhood development experts, Dr. Robyn Silverman. Every month, we’ll focus on a different Powerful Word, or concept around character development.

Here’s a video from Dr. Robyn Silverman in which she introduces some of the concepts we’ll be covering this month:

The decision to persevere even when challenged says a great deal about someone’s character. People who persevere show mental toughness, commitment, focus, reliability and integrity to follow through with what they said they would do. Perseverance is a very important trait of a leader and a goal-setter.

There has been an interesting realization recently. Research shows that perseverance is a far more important predictor of future success than the prestige of a person’s school or faculty. It’s about effort, hard work and stick-to-itiveness.

A recent study out of the University of Michigan tells us that parents who stress effort over innate gifts rear more successful children. These children tend to work harder and longer on their goals than those who are raised to believe that it’s the end result that counts rather than one’s determination and perseverance. We must teach our children that doing their best means enduring through the rough spots.

When it comes to perseverance, many things can get in our way. It seems simple– just keep going and never quit. But children experience fears of success as well as fears of failure. They feel the weight of peer pressure telling them to stop prematurely and do something else. Some children have trouble working through the mounting hurdles or don’t have the support and encouragement to stick with something. We can help.

Children and teens need what our child/teen development specialist, Dr. Robyn Silverman, called “SPARK.” This stands for Support, Passion, Action, Reason, and Knowledge. When children have the support system, are engaged in something that truly interests them, take necessary and consistent action, have a strong “why” they are doing something, and the skills to do it, they can persevere and achieve.

To give you more ideas for conversation topics, here’s a run-down of what we’ll be discussing over the next 4 weeks:

Week 1 – Perseverance defined: What it means to keep going and never quit
Week 2 – What gets in our way? Fears, priorities, character flaws and peer pressure
Week 3 – What keeps us going? Support-Passion-Action-Reason-Knowledge (SPARK)
Week 4 – What are the benefits of perseverance? Goal-getting, character, & confidence

There’s no better way to drive home the lessons we teach at Urban Martial Arts than by reinforcing them… well, at home!

We’d love to hear how your conversations go with your child so do share with us!

Photo Credit: kaymoshusband on Flickr