Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Virtue in Focus: Perseverance

This is the second post in my series "Virtues in Focus."
Click here to read the rest.

Nothing frustrates me more than hearing my daughter say "I can't do it" when faced with a task she has only just begun or has difficulty with.

My husband and I have had quite a number of discussions about how to instill perseverance in our children as it will serve them well as they navigate through life. We have some go-to phrases that we use to encourage our daughter to keep going, and that work quite well.
"It's okay to make mistakes as long as you do it."
"You just need to try." 
"Practice makes perfect."

But nothing beats We Choose Virtues' catchy catchphrase. It captures the essence of perseverance and speaks to a child so well.

"I can do it, even when it's tough!"


Mike Mulligan and Mary Anne, his steam shovel, work hard and fast to finish digging the land for Popperville's new town hall in just one day! 

Ming Lo and his wife want to move the mountain to enjoy their house in peace and do everything in their power to do so. They follow all of the wise old man's advice until they achieve success with the last one - do the mountain dance by placing their right feet behind their left feet, their left feet behind their right feet, and so on. This had us laughing and walking backwards with our eyes closed. 

A part of Time Life's A Child's First Library of Values, the story is about Dan who does not give up on his dream to have a musical concert in the forest. His efforts are rewarded with the most wonderful light he could have asked for - the light from a shooting star!

"Angelina Ballerina," the first in the series is about a mouse who can't stop dancing ballet everywhere. Her passion, dedication, and hard work pay off when she grows up to be the famed ballerina "Mademoiselle Angelina." This is always a huge hit with our ballet enthusiast.

A lovely, lovely story by our favorite author William Steig. Irene faces all obstacles in order to deliver the beautiful gown that her mother has made for the duchess.

"Dogs Don't Do Ballet" by Anna Kemp is an old favorite from our bookshelf about Biff the dog who is not like any other dog you will probably ever meet. He thinks he's a ballerina! He pursues his dream and shows that you can do anything even if you're told that you can't!

  • Walk backwards with your eyes closed (or any other challenge that you can think of) from a designated start and goal points. We were inspired by "Ming Lo Moves The Mountain" and had a great time!
  • Complete jigsaw puzzles with an increasing level of difficulty. Our favorite is the Disney Princess  3 in 1 Panoramic Puzzle. Your child can start with 24 pieces, then 48, and then 63. Once completed, you can put together all three! We got ours from National Bookstore.
  • Let your child set a goal to accomplish for the week. Little T's is simple: practice writing the number 3 until she can do it with confidence and without reversing. 

More Inspiration

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Mary Ellen King said...

This is great! I've noticed that my almost-three year old daughter avoids doing things when it's too difficult for her. For example, she always makes me do the drawings and she won't try to do it herself since she knows she's not very good with the pencil. Or we tried to walk around with a toy egg on a spoon (we saw in a cartoons), she dropped it after a few steps and then stopped obviously frustrated. We also always use the phrases "it's okay to do it slowly/make mistakes", "just try", "practice makes perfect" around her but I don't really force her yet to do anything. It's all play and I just get her to try it again another time.

Um, any chance you're selling the books you listed above? :D

Tina Santiago-Rodriguez said...

It seems Little T and Tim have a lot in common! :) Haha! :D Thanks for sharing! :D God bless!

Mariel @ The Learning Basket said...

Hi Mary Ellen! I just updated my blog post to include this link to a great article about helping children overcome their 'I can't' attitude. Janet Lansburys advice really resonates with me and I read and re-read my favorites posts by her, one of which is this: http://www.janetlansbury.com/2012/09/when-children-cant-do-it-and-how-to-help/ Let me know how you like it!

Regarding the books, we have one available copy of Mike Mulligan, and also another book called Talking Eggs. I just didn't include it in the list because we haven't read it yet together, but will do this week. 

Warm wishes, Mariel

Mariel @ The Learning Basket said...

Haha I think all kids pass through that stage and it's really up to us as parents to guide them. Please please read Janet Lansbury's article if you haven't yet :) http://www.janetlansbury.com/2012/09/when-children-cant-do-it-and-how-to-help/

Noria P. Adam-Lim said...

It is frustrating when we think that its easy. But if we change perspectives "I can't imagine how you can think this is easy when I can't do it" then we realize its not that easy. I always remind myself not to judge easily because we need to learn to walk or even crawl first before we can run. Still, even for a SPED practitioner like me this is easier said than done. 

Mariel @ The Learning Basket said...

Hi T Ia! Thanks for your thoughts. Yes learning is a slow process for kids, especially  making virtues part of their character. And that's why I really love We Choose Virtues because it's like vitamins that we take everyday and it's so easy to digest. :) I suppose what I really mean by "frustrated" is that I am frustrated that I as a parent can't seem to be able to help my child better, and not really frustrated that she can't be persevering, or whatever skill she is on her way to acquiring. Another word that comes to mind is "scared" - scared that I am not helping her well enough. 

MommyJho said...

thank you for sharing, this is the exact challenge i have with my girl, it gets especially frustrating when i know it's a task that she was able to do before and she simply chooses not to do it at the moment. These are great reads!

Mariel @ The Learning Basket said...

Hi Mommy Jho! Thanks for dropping by :) Yes, through books, discussions, and noticing what our child is doing everyday, we will be able to instill the values that they need to be successful in life :)