Perseverance is not an easy value to teach, especially to a generation that has gotten used to instant results. One way of introducing ideas of determination and grit is through stories. Reading about relatable characters who work hard to achieve their goals can help instill similar ideas in your children.
We often find ourselves saying, “Children these days give up so soon!” Unlike the older generation, nowadays we find children not only lack the attention span but also the willingness to stick to one activity, especially if it’s challenging. Today’s children are all about quick fixes and instant gratification, whether it is games at playtime, extra-curricular activities or even education.
As parents, we understand the importance of perseverance. It is essential to learn how to work hard at something and achieve success at it. The hard work makes you value the achievement more. Your self-confidence and self-esteem also increase. These are effects of grit one must experience first hand. It is quite difficult to make someone see the results of perseverance. That is probably why we often force it on our children and often fail to achieve the results we hoped for.
But there is another way. We could show them the virtues of perseverance and grit through stories. Reading books with characters who are going through problems similar to their own and who manage to succeed by working hard shows children the value of perseverance.
The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires
This endearing picture book by award-winning writer and illustrator Ashley Spires talks about an unnamed little girl who wants to make the most magnificent thing. Although it sounds like the simplest thing to do, it turns out it isn’t. After she gets angry and decides to quit, it is her best friend, a dog, that convinces her to persevere.
You Can Do It Bert by Ole Konnecke
This simple and funny picture book is about a bird trying to jump off a branch into the water below. It is the perfect metaphor for children who are about to start their schooling.
How to Catch a Star by Oliver Jeffers
A boy has a dream to catch a star. He tries everything he can to catch a star – jump up and grab it, use a life preserver as a lasso, and then thinks of other possibilities, like using a spaceship or getting a seagull to help. In the end, the boy’s wish comes true in a somewhat unexpected way.
Flight School by Lita Judge
A determined penguin has seen other birds fly. So why can’t he? He joins a flight school to learn how to fly but doesn’t manage to get off the ground. With perseverance and a little help from his friends, he finally achieves his goal with the help of a special apparatus.
Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman
Young Grace loves stories and enjoys role playing the stories she reads. Now she has the opportunity to audition for the role of Peter Pan in her school’s play. Everyone around her tries to discourage her. But Grace’s mother and grandmother rebuild her confidence just in time for the auditions.
Brave Irene by William Steig
Irene is given the task to deliver a gown to the duchess, the only problem is that a fierce snowstorm is brewing and the wind howling. But Irene sets out on her mission anyway. Through great adversity, Irene finally makes it to the palace and is rewarded with a hot meal, amazement, kind words, and the satisfaction of having completed her mission.
Salt in His Shoes by Deloris Jordan
Michael thinks he isn’t good at football because he is short. While his mother tries to help him become taller, his father teaches him that it is also about practice and determination. This wonderful story chronicles the story of Michael Jordan’s childhood in a way that makes determination look like the real hero.
Adventures with Hanuman by Arshia Sattar
Ages 10 and above
Raghu is bored and doesn’t know what to do when Hanuman jumps out of the poster on Raghu’s wall and invites him to join him. When Raghu points out that he already knows how this story goes, Hanuman mentions that that’s not how it works. Each time the Ramayana has narrated the story changes in some ways.
We hope this article helps you find innovative ways to teach the value of perseverance to your children.