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“Most people fail not because they lack ability, intelligence or opportunity, but they fail because they didn’t give it all they got.”

 -Quote by Dr. Norman Vincent Peale

Related traits – diligence, patience


Perseverance is sticking to a purpose or aim.  It is never giving up on what one has set out to do.  It is to try, try and try again.


Everybody at some point in their lives must learn new things which are difficult or overwhelming.  If you are willing to keep trying, you can learn almost anything.  Immediate rewards rarely happen.  We must be willing to work and wait for the results.


Perseverance – How to teach it and how to show it


  • Take time to talk to your children about the importance of continuing to try to learn new things which are hard.

  • Help your children set goals and keep track of steps of progress toward those goals.

  • Share with your children the three R” s of perseverance:

    • REMIND: remind yourself of the goals you want to achieve.

    • REASSURE: Reassure yourself that you can complete the task

    • RECOMMIT: Recommit yourself to put forth your best effort into completing your goal.

  • Explain to your children that successful people are not necessarily the people who are the smartest.  Successful people are those who keep trying and don’t give up until they reach their goals.

  • 23 publishers rejected Dr Seuss’ first children’s book!



Read this classic children's story which is a great example of perseverance.


(Watty Piper)

A little steam engine had a long train of cars to pull.

She went along very well till she came to a steep hill. But then, no matter how hard she tried, she could not move the long train of cars.

She pulled and she pulled. She puffed and she puffed. She backed and started off again. Choo! Choo!

But no! The cars would not go up the hill.

At last she left the train and started up the track alone. Do you think she had stopped working? No, indeed! She was going for help.

"Surely I can find someone to help me," she thought.

Over the hill and up the track went the little steam engine. Choo, choo! Choo, choo! Choo, choo! Choo!

Pretty soon she saw a big steam engine standing on a sidetrack. He looked very big and strong. Running alongside, she looked up and said:

"Will you help me over the hill with my train of cars? It is so long and heavy I can't get it over."

The big steam engine looked down at the little steam engine. The he said:

"Don't you see that I am through my day's work? I am clean and scoured ready for my next run. No, I cannot help you,"

The little steam engine was sorry, but she went on, Choo, choo! Choo, choo! Choo, choo! Choo, choo!

Soon she came to a second big steam engine standing on a sidetrack. He was puffing and puffing, as if he were tired.

"That big steam engine may help me," thought the little steam engine. She ran alongside and asked:

"Will you help me bring my train of cars over the hill? It is so long and so heavy that I can't get it over."

The second big steam engine answered:

"I have just come in from a long, long run. Don't you see how tired I am? Can't you get some other engine to help you this time?

"I'll try," said the little steam engine, and off she went. Choo, choo! Choo, choo! Choo, choo!

After a while she came to a little steam engine just like herself. She ran alongside and said:

"Will you help me over the hill with my train of cars? It is so long and so heavy that I can't get it over."

"Yes, indeed!" said this little steam engine. "I'll be glad to help you, if I can."

So, the little steam engines started back to where the train of cars had been standing. Both little steam engines went to the head of the train, one behind the other.

Puff, puff! Chug, choo! Off they started!

Slowly the cars began to move. Slowly they climbed the steep hill. As they climbed, each little steam engine began to sing:

"I-think-I-can! I-think-I-can! I-think-I-can! I-think-I-can! I-think-I-can! I-think-I-can! I think I can - I think I can - I think I can I think I can--"

And they did! Very soon they were over the hill and going down the other side.

Now they were on the plain again; and the little steam engine could pull her train herself. So, she thanked the little engine who had come to help her and said good-bye.

And she went merrily on her way, singing:

"I-thought-I-could! I-thought-I-could! I-thought-I-could! I-thought-I-could! I thought I could - I thought I could - I thought I could - I thought I could - I thought I could - I thought I could I thought I could --"

Discussion Questions

  1. Who had perseverance in the story?

  2. How was the little blue engine able to do the job?

  3. Why couldn’t the other engines help?

  4. How can you achieve what you want?

  5. Can you be successful at whatever you choose?

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