Patience and Perseverance
Character Trait Article
The best role models for patience and perseverance are good teachers. As you know, we have wonderful teachers, so in these ways they are exemplary! What other profession do you know of that requires the ability to focus, emote, lead, and instruct your ten or more “clients” beginning when the bell rings first thing in the morning, through the day, and until the bell rings again at the end of the day - day-after-day, and year-after-year? Clearly, teaching requires tremendous patience and perseverance.
Patience and perseverance both require many underlying positive character traits, like respect, responsibility, self-discipline, and good judgment. Students who show patience and perseverance on an ongoing basis are most likely to find success operating in a group while developing and maintaining autonomy.
Before learning patience with others, a child must be patient with himself/herself. Patience is learned over time, when after several attempts at something, the child has achieved success in many, many incidences. Motivation is necessary for a child to put effort into the task-at-hand, and patience is learned when a child figures out that with continued effort comes success. Obviously, both teachers and parents reinforce the development of patience. As Dr. Levine said, “Parents are very encouraging when their child is learning to walk…if he falls down, they say, come on…try again.”
Trying again and again and again to achieve an appropriately challenging task requires patience. To accomplish more complex tasks over extended periods of time requires perseverance. Our seventh grade students are guided by expert teachers to work on their Invertebrate Organism Project over the course of a whole year. The project requires the completion of multi-faceted assignments in several subject areas - scientific research, scale drawings in math, the development of a lengthy report in English that becomes the basis for a brochure using technology, and the creation of an industrial arts model of their selected organism - all together requiring marked perseverance. In the end, each student becomes an “expert” himself, knowing more about his particular organism than anyone else in the class. He has gained a great deal of knowledge, AND a huge lesson in perseverance.
The obvious admonition to parents is…”Don’t do for your children what they can do for themselves!” Encourage them…ABSOLUTELY! Guide them to make good choices…OF COURSE! Help them prioritize…ESSENTIAL! Set a good example yourself…MANDATORY! Just do NOT do the task for them! Let them learn that anything worth doing requires effort, patience, and perseverance to do well.