Every parent would like their child to be successful in life – a winner, an autonomous, resilient, self-confident person, who is more often happy and satisfied than not – someone who conquers everyday challenges and leaves the battle without too much scarring.
Brilliant scientist and Nobel Prize winner, Marie Curie said, “Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained.”
Yes, perseverance is what it takes to deal with life’s difficulties each and every day.
So, how do we do that? How do we teach our children to stay persistent despite difficulties and delays in achieving success?
• Do we set them on our lap and tell them life is hard, but they need to be strong?
• Do we put complicated tasks on their path to see how they’ll deal with them?
The best way to teach perseverance to kids is to read them stories. You just have to spend quality time with your child and be patient. Reading stories about heroes and even introducing them to various cartoons or movies can be more beneficial than you might think.
The “Hero’s Journey” is the standard template used in stories, fairy tales, and movie plots. It explains how the hero handles the situation, deals with the difficulties, solves the critical issues, and as a result, learns something new and significant.
Here are the beneficial, perseverance-related messages your child will get from heroic tales:
1. Everyone is good enough to be a hero. Most of the stories start by describing the hero’s life before the adventure begins. Here, a child will learn that heroes are common, regular, everyday people who encounter extraordinary situations.
◦ Kids don’t have to own superpowers to be persistent in dealing with life. Being who they are is their biggest power.
2. New adventures are all around us. An adventure doesn’t have to start dramatically. Kids just have to recognize it and accept it as challenging but not impossible. Everyday life is full of simple and complicated challenges.
◦ The hero’s journey explains that anything that disrupts your daily life can be perceived as a challenge.
3. It is okay to have doubts. You will often see heroes who have second thoughts, personal doubts, and often refuse to face the challenge at first. This teaches children that it’s okay to be scared or to value the comfort one’s hometown more than exotic adventure.
◦ However, the rest of the story sends a message that overcoming a challenge comes with a great reward.
4. It’s okay to receive support. Heroes usually have their mentors. This gives children a chance to learn that it’s okay to ask for help and accept support. Perseverance is all about knowing when to give 100% of yourself, when to take a break, and when to share the burden.
◦ Mentors are here to provide the reality check, show the hero how to do things, and applaud the effort.
5. The luck is ever-changing, but persistence pays off. Heroes in tales deal with various tests before they face the final ordeal. They meet their allies and enemies.
◦ This happens in a child’s everyday life too, but we don’t define those events in such a dramatic way. The child learns that even though their abilities are tested continuously, they gain deeper insight after accomplishing each task.
6. Every journey comes with a lesson. The outcome of the hero’s journey (be it victory or defeat) doesn’t matter that much. What counts is the fact that, through facing and enduring challenges, the hero transforms and develops. Facing his fears, the hero grows as a person, learns many things, and finds fresh hope.
◦ This helps children learn that being persistent pays off, even when they don’t achieve what they’ve planned. Gaining experience is just as valuable in a child’s life as succeeding.
Planting the seed of perseverance in your child’s mind might seem complicated, but it is rather simple. Just ensure that you are there for them when they fall to validate their emotions and reward their steps forward, no matter how small they are.
Most importantly, be a person who doesn’t give up easily and your child will learn to do the same. You can be their hero!