Barringer Road Elementary’s Character Counts!® main idea for April is the Pillar of Determination. Talk to your child about what it means and how they can become successful focusing on the Pillar of Determination.
“You are never a loser until you quit trying.” – Mike Ditka
Determination means making a steady effort to achieve something without giving up. It means sticking to a task from start to finish. It means not giving up when a situation or job is difficult. It means setting a goal and working until you have reached that goal, even when you may feel like doing something else.
Determination means perseverance. It means striving to meet your goals without letting small failures get in your way. It means to keep trying if you are not first successful. It means practicing to improve. It means to learn from your mistakes by understanding how you can do something better the next time. It means trying other ways to reach your goals.
Determination means having self-confidence. It means believing in you and having an “I think I can” attitude. It means giving encouragement to yourself and others. It means knowing that if you work hard, are patient, and keep trying, you will succeed.
Determination means being persistent. It is pushing you to reach the finish when it would be much easier to give up. It means having courage to face your challenges, problems, or failures. It means having strong will power to keep going until you accomplish what you want.
- Decide to do something and stick with it from start to finish.
- Believe in yourself – Believe you can do it.
- Think Positive – Have an “I Think I Can” attitude.
- Give yourself and others encouragement.
- Practice to improve.
- Keep trying – Don’t give up.
- Face challenges – Solve problems.
- Learn from your mistakes.
- Work hard to do and be your best.
- Do what’s right and not just what is easy.
Animal Character – Ernest the Turtle stands for determination. Ernest has the attitude, “I can do it.” He knows the importance of not giving up. He believes he can finish what he starts, even if it means he works at a slow but steady pace. Ernest wears a brown ribbon medallion.
Color – Brown – like standing on the firm solid ground.
Ideas for Teaching Determination at Home
- Take time to explain the meaning of determination. Frequently use words related to determination such as goals, persistence, perseverance, work hard, patience, practice, keep trying, challenges, and self-confidence.
- Talk about phrases such as “I can do it,” “I’ll try again,” and “I’ll give it the best I have,” that determined individuals say. Encourage your child and other family members to practice saying at least one encouraging phrase when completing a difficult task or doing something new.
- Talk to your child about people in our history, people in the current news, and people in your child’s personal life who have demonstrated determination. Talk about the struggles and obstacles these individuals faced and how they overcome them to accomplish what they did. Talk about the outcomes of their determination.
- Tell your child that you want him or her to be determined. Encourage him/her to keep trying, when they are learning new things or finding something difficult. Encourage him/her to do his/her best, and that you believe he/she can do it. Recognize and praise his/her efforts with such words as “good try,” and “keep up the good work.” When your child sticks to a task, point it out. Ex.: “There’s determination for you. You hung in there. You worked hard and finished.” Tell him/her how it makes you feel when you see him/her showing determination. Ex.: “I’m proud of you.” Ask your child how he/she feels.
- In the stories you read, the television programs or movies you watch, look for characters that demonstrate determination and ones who do not. Discuss the character’s actions and the outcomes. Don’t forget to discuss the resulting feelings of the characters and those around them.
- Be a good role model for your child. Especially this month, show your child how you do not give up on a task, even when things get difficult or will take a long time. Before starting a new task, make sure your child overhears you say, “I’m going to stick with this until I finish.” When you finish, make sure your child overhears you say, “Determination works. I’m finished and it’s a good feeling.” Modeling the virtue is always the number one way to teach your child determination.
- Start a family “Never give up!” motto. Spend some time as a family brainstorming mottos about determination, such as: “In this family, we finish what we start.” “Try, try, and try again and then you will win.” “Don’t quit until you succeed.” Write and post them to remind family members that your family code of behavior is to never give up.
- Create a “Stick To It” award. Ask your child to help you find something to use to acknowledge and record “Stick-to-itiveness”. (Some families have chosen a yardstick while others have chosen a piece of paper with a picture of a turtle.) Print “Stick To It Award” across what you have chosen. Tell everyone to be on the alert for family members showing special determination for the next month. Have regular family gatherings to announce the names of family members who didn’t give up. Print their initials on the award. Make sure to tell these family members exactly what they did to deserve the recognition. Make it a contest to see how long it takes to fill the award with family members’ initials. Your child will enjoy counting how often his/her initials appear on the award. At the end of the contest celebrate with a special family activity/event/treat.
Remember, the development of good character is a process. You are building character a day at a time and often the path is two steps forward and one step back. The ongoing efforts you make will be rewarded as your child becomes a person of good character!
“Determination today leads to success tomorrow.” – Anonymous
Character Counts!® Don’t just know it, Show it!
(CHARACTER COUNTS! ® is a service mark of the CHARACTER COUNTS! Coalition, a project of the Josephson Institute of Ethics.)