The Skill of Stick-To-Itiveness
One would think that stick-to-itiveness—also known as perseverance or determination—would be employed daily in every home, school, and office. Every one of us is born rich in that trait: witness the number of times any toddler falls and gets up before learning to walk consistently.
Yet many adults—and even children as young as five or six—run their lives according to such false ideas as:
The more people who live by such ideas, the more they drag down societies. How can you be a positive influence in the other direction?
What Stick-to-Itiveness Isn’t
First, be clear on what you’re aiming for. Perseverance doesn’t mean the stuck-in-a-rut perfectionism of polishing and re-polishing long past deadline. Stick-to-itiveness isn’t measured by how many tasks you complete: many people cross off a dozen to-do items every day without touching anything of long-term importance.
Perseverance doesn’t even mean simply finishing the big projects: if you fail to consider whether you’re the right person for the job, or when your approach needs modifying, you may be setting yourself up for burnout—and setting a bad example for your kids.
What Are Your True Values?
What do you really believe in? Integrity? Loyalty? Generosity? The advancement of humanity? Most people give lip service to all the above, but how many stand by professed values that seem to be interfering with a chance of popularity, profit, or pain relief? And how many people fail to see out their commitments because they make decisions according to the expediency of the moment? Be firmly decided on what you won’t compromise no matter what.
The same principle applies to supporting and advising children: many parents who wouldn’t think of breaking their own word are tempted to rescue their kids from pain by letting them quit too easily. For the sake of their growth be a cheerleader, urging them to forge forward through the difficulties.
How to Teach Perseverance
Besides modeling stick-to-itiveness and holding children responsible for their commitments, you can raise persevering kids by:
It’s true that on occasion, sticking to the original plan proves impossible. But careful choice of commitments, and practicing perseverance on a regular basis, helps such times remain rare exceptions.