I walked into a classroom at William F. Davidson School in British Columbia and instantly knew the teacher was emphasizing perseverance.A large hand-printed sign greeted her students with Thomas Edison's quotation,"Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration."The teacher told me,"I put it up weeks ago and told my students the best way to guarantee their success is not by being lazy, making excuses, and procrastinating but by working hard. I never realized how effective that poster could be: my students are not only quoting it—but also modeling it!" By continually emphasizing the importance of productivity and hard work, her students "caught" her message and incorporated it into their own lives. Here are a few ways to help kids understand how critical industriousness is to achieving success:
• Discuss industriousness. Take time to explain that industri-ousness means working hard and hanging in there until you complete the task you started.Then use the word frequently to help your kids understand how important the trait is in their lives.
• Reinforce productivity. When your kids work hard and stick to a task, point it out: "There's industriousness for you.You hung in there with your work even though it was hard."
• Teach "Don't Give Up" words. Help your children tune into the language of persevering individuals so they can learn to use the terms in their own life. Ask, "What are the kinds of things you hear people who don't give up say?" Write a list of phrases such as: I can do it! I'll try again. Don't give up! I won't quit! This is hard, but I'll keep going. I'll give it the best I have. Hang up the poster with the heading, "Don't Give Up Words," and encourage everyone to say at least one phrase a day.
• Establish a family motto. If you haven't already, begin a family motto that emphasizes the attitude of productivity, such as: "Try, try, and try again, and then you will win." "In this family, we finish what we start.""Quitters never win." "It's not good enough just to start.You have to fmish."You might even write your motto on index cards and tape them on the refrigerator or kids' bedroom walls.
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Although nobody gets a parenting manual or bible in the delivery room, it is our duty as parents to try to make our kids as well rounded, happy and confident as possible. It is a lot easier to bring up great kids than it is to try and fix problems caused by bad parenting, when our kids have become adults. Our children are all individuals - they are not our property but people in their own right.