In a world where an entire little league sports team gets a trophy for participation, it’s hard to teach kids the value of persevering. Sugarcoating and coddling isn’t the best thing for our kids. It is super easy just to quit; to keep on going is tough. How to encourage perseverance in your child can take some work, but it is worth every effort you can give. Our instructions for life say this:
Trials produce perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope (Romans 5:3-4). We would be wise to take heed of this when raising our kids.
This post is part of the Building Virtues in Your Children Series
My husband and I were challenged as parents in this with our son. It wasn’t anything huge, just eye-opening. Our high energy boy breezed through and excelled at sports, and quickly changed in just a few weeks’ time. No offense, mother-in-law, but I need to use this example. I love you.
Last year we had our son extremely active in sports. He played rugby and trained in boxing and Jiu-Jitsu. I mean, he ate a lot but worked it off most of the week in strength building and high energy sports. Like a typical Polynesian athlete you see playing sports, his body is built like a mac truck.
So what happened?
My son ended up spending most of the summer with my in-laws, eating bread and candy for three weeks straight. He came back home 15 pounds heavier and in a slump, not wanting to practice or train anymore.
I could not believe the effect that three weeks of downtime and laziness got him. I couldn’t help but wonder what if he did nothing for a year. What about two years? What impact would that have had on him? He had no choice but to get back in gear because we were there, getting him back on track.
Parents have a large part in teaching children not to give up, to work hard through tough times, and to persevere no matter the obstacles that may come.
In our efforts to make our children’s lives better than our own, we still have to find ways for them to become children and adults who persevere. We can fix things for them, but they learn nothing. We can do things for them, but that doesn’t last.
What I mean is that we may have to let them fail.
Let your children fail if they need to, to teach that they need not give up.
That is tough for me, and I know it may tough for some of you as well. Boy, do we LOVE our kids. However, loving them has to look different if we want them to come on top of tough situations.
Here are a few ways I have learned over the years that will help encourage perseverance in your child.
1. Let them fail.
We have to, without a doubt, teach our kids to tough it out and work through disappointment and failures in life. Don’t let your kids win in games all the time. Let them experience failure and how to lose gracefully.
My husband grapples with my son to practice Jiu-Jitsu. Obviously, my 6 ft 250+lb husband beats my nine-year-old son every single time. However, with each practice, my son learns something new. With each session, he gets better. My husband knows full well that tables will turn when my son reaches his teens. Until then, he will learn to keep trying.
2. Stick things through.
If your child signs up for a team, club, or to learn an instrument, whatever the case may be, have them stick it through for a term/year/ etc. You are doing a disservice to take your child out of something because they no longer “feel” like doing it, or they don’t “like” it anymore. Let them stick it through until it’s over for that period.
We made our daughter choose between learning to play a guitar or ukulele. She decided on the ukulele. We set goals for her to learn a new song ever so often. She even asked about playing drums recently, but until she can show us consistency in learning new songs we won’t even consider it. Be unwavering in not raising a quitter. Note: We all know there are outliers here, like bullying or other obvious circumstances.
3. Play games and activities that encourage perseverance.
Dare I say monopoly. Monopoly is like torture for me; however, I fully know the implications of a child playing a long game through to the end. Sometimes they will hate the game. However, making sure they play all the way through the game provides practice for them even at an early age to persevere.
Here are a few FREE printables games to help:
FREE Escape Game for Students | Teresa Kwant
15 Brain Games For Kids Your Kids Will Love | What Do We Do All Day?
Persistence Activities for Kids (Free Printables) | Sunny Day Family
5 Activities To Help Your Kids Learn Perseverance | Moments a Day
4. Put together large puzzles or challenge your kids with brain teasers or riddles.
A puzzle is a simple one, but it is very useful in guiding a child to commit to something to the very end. Brainteasers, word puzzles, and riddles are great as well to encourage perseverance. If we let our kids find the answers themselves, they learn not to quit and work around getting an end result. Plus, they can be FUN!
Grab a few FREE resources to help:
Brain Teasers for Transitions FREE – Higher Level Thinking for Spare Minutes | The Teacher Next Door
Pattern Block Logic Puzzles | Mrs. Winter’s Bliss
5. Read about the one who is the ultimate example of perseverance.
God’s holy word is full of accounts that exemplify perseverance to encourage our kids. Remember that His Word is true and will never come out void. This makes God’s Word the very best encourager of perseverance.
Here are a few examples of perseverance to share with our kids in the Bible:
In Luke 18: 1-8, a widow in her persistence to bring her petition forth to the judge, was finally heard.
Jeremiah continued to preach God’s Word despite facing famine, being held captive and more.
We can’t forget Paul here. He was imprisoned repeatedly. He was flogged, had a “thorn” in his side, received 39 lashes, was shipwrecked, and yet he still followed Christ and spread the gospel to the end of his days.
Aside from Christ’s sacrifice, Job could be the most popular account of endurance through trials. He had undeserved consequences of which he eventually pulled through to see God’s grace and hand in it all.
And finally, in the ultimate act of perseverance, Jesus Christ himself was put threw agony on the cross, was betrayed, was mocked, rejected and more only to be put to death for the sins of others.
Here are some resources that can help you encourage perseverance at home.
Lessons on Perseverance | KidsofIntegrity
What is Perseverance? |KidsCorner
The Bible says in Psalm 34:19 that we will go through troubles, yet He will deliver us. Joshua 1:9 tells us not to be discouraged for God is with us, and tells us in Hebrews 12 to run with perseverance to the race set before us. In teaching our children about perseverance, perhaps we can also use some help in it ourselves. Persevere parent, and be the example your children need to do the same.
Jeannette is a wife, mother and homeschooling mom. She has been mightily, saved by grace and is grateful for God’s sovereignty throughout her life’s journey. She has a Bachelor in English Education and her MBA. Jeannette is bi-lingual and currently lives in the Tongan Islands of the South Pacific. She posts daily freebies for homeschoolers!