Our daughter has been a dancer all her life until a few weeks ago. Parents were invited to attend a Christmas class and watch our beautiful dancers perform what they’d learned during the semester. Our little girl, who gladly danced every single week, became a still silent clam as we watched.
There were the obvious comments of, “Does she stay at home with you?” or “Is she just really shy?” After this class we tried again the next week, but she was unwilling to return to her usual favorite class. As I pondered the questions that other mothers had asked, I came to the realization that homeschooling her was not the culprit; it was the advantage.
Sure, she wasn’t “socialized” in the school setting, but I realized the issue was not socialization but perseverance. Rather than allow the doubt of a very popular argument against homeschooling to seep in, I decided to let homeschooling do what it does best – Evaluate the need of the child and work around the clock to build steadfast character to sustain against the trials of life.
Our daughter had been faced with something that challenged her and rather than push through and continue, it was easier for her not to go to class. I adjusted our lessons last week to allow time to teach, demonstrate and encourage the character quality of perseverance.
Rather than a quick pep talk before class, I was able to tie perseverance to almost all of our different subjects, speaking truth and worth into her heart and mind, and shaping a very beautiful week for our entire family. Here are the steps we used to teach perseverance:
5 Easy Steps to Build Perseverance
Validate Emotions and Teach Perseverance
- Having emotions or realizing that something is challenging is ok. It’s our job as parents to direct our kids how to respond to these emotions. If you struggle to find the right words to say, remember that God’s words are the ultimate truth. Search His words for guidelines to direct your children. We summed up an easy definition of perseverance with our kids that says, “I can do it, even when it’s tough.”
Give them personal examples
- Relate to their emotions and be vulnerable. It creates such a strong bond when we as parents can talk about our own victories and failures. What a great treasure it is to have the availability all day long to take advantage of these moments with our kids.
Show them perseverance through an activity
- I started out with a small activity where I had them each pretend to lift colored pencils in each hand as if they were weights. We talked about the ease of it and how it didn’t really require any perseverance. Then I switched out the pencils with real weights and had the kids repeat the same number of reps. This time they got tired before the end of it. I reminded them that perseverance is saying “I can do it, even when it’s tough.” They laughed their way through as it became a game for them to see who could persevere the longest!
Constantly encourage them. Be their biggest cheerleaders!
- Constantly remind your kids about the lessons and the meaning of perseverance. Speak words of encouragement and truth into them. As dance class was approaching I told my daughter that I was proud of her and that these lessons that she was learning were far more valuable than any dance move she could learn. That God was more concerned with her heart than her pointed toes. I reminded her that I was her cheerleader. As homeschooling moms we have the privilege and honor to speak valuable words and a sense of worth into our children all throughout the day. Take advantage of those opportunities!
Recognize and Reward them!
- Recognize when you see your kids using perseverance and reward them. A simple high five or encouraging word goes a long way. But, for some areas where you know showing perseverance is a BIG deal for them, let them know you see it by making it a BIG deal. Always remember to celebrate victories!
As we came into the dance building this last week our daughter not only walked right in, but she grabbed the hand of a little girl crying and led her into the circle to dance. Her compassion helped her overcome fear and she was ready for the challenge.
The classroom door shut and she glanced up at me waiting for a reassuring smile. As I smiled I knew she not only understood the lesson I was teaching, but that I was there just as I’d promised – her biggest cheerleader.
As a family, we put together a surprise for her to reward her perseverance. My husband and son showed up to surprise her with a certificate of perseverance and flowers. She was able to pick a place to eat and had her choice of a movie rental.
She still talks about it being one of the best nights…. and it was! What an incredible joy to see the fruit of discipleship that homeschooling allows us to have with our kids!
“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial, because having stood the test that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those that love Him.” James 1:12