When we intentionally takehuman qualities into consideration and develop them into virtues in order to satisfy personal perfection, either for human reasons or for faith. First of all we should understand what we mean by virtue. Virtue means behaving and operating in doing what is good and not wrong intelligently, becoming virtuous means becoming more of a human being.
The virtues which I wish to mainly draw your attention to are; Generosity, Strength, Optimism and perseverance. Perseverance means the capacity of deciding what is necessary to do and carrying it out with constancy, no matter how difficult it may be,in the way and for reasons which initially the decision was taken for. A human being may realize intelligently thathe made a mistake in making a decision or the method he used in doing it that was not adequate. At this point insisting on wanting to finish it would result in obstinacy and stubbornness and this is not virtue.
It is in fact considered an unintelligent and unreasonable behavior which does not help personal human growth. Intelligence as we know is one of the main characteristics of human being. If we refuse to use our intelligence we result in being less of a human. It is not advisable; in fact, to proceed if problems occur when we are in the middle of doing something, it would bewise to reconsider the situation.
It is also not right to confuse perseverance with what iscalled a habit. Therefor what is a habit it is not a virtue and as the consequence it is not even perseverance. What does it mean achieving what was originally our aim or goal? How can we find the solution in educating our children in obtaining perseverance? Perseverance is a virtue to start consideringin a particular way from the age of seven.
By particular I mean it is not to be carried out on its own but together with other elements, till the period of adolescence. This is the most delicate period for this virtue even before the age of seven years old and most of all it is alsoimportant after adolescence mainly because the term adolescence varies a lot and it is suggestive.
In fact the period of adolescence is very complex and complicated, if we were to look around us we would notice many forty year olds who are still in the age of adolescence,as far as their behavior and attitude is concerned mentally and in their everyday behavior.
The development of perseverance always depends on the capacity of parents being regularly demanding with their children without forgetting to concentrate on the reasons and motivation for their demand. With adolescents it is always more complex because at this age they do not accept your ideas or point of view as parents.
It would be useful to introduce them to think and reflect when it comes to a problem which they might have. This is something they are more willing to do but of course you need to have will power and to be firm with your requests and not easily persuaded. In fact it is difficult for parents to teach their adolescent children the quality of being strong mined. They can guide them and only if their children ask for help they should offer their help and assistance but in the meantime children must accept and understand that their parents can really help them and that they are keen and are ready to help their children.
In order for children to accept help parents could talk and have a proper conversation with their children. More than talking parents need to listen to their children at this age. Learning about their interests, their projects, their needs, their difficulties, their expectations, their plans but most of all it is necessary for parents to show their children that they are ready to help.
Perseverance is necessary for the development of all the virtues. It is also important to be highly devoted to our virtue and use it intensely and understanding all the characteristics that stimulate and inspire a virtue. After all it is difficult to introduce young children to doing something for a long period. There is no point in planning a long term project with small children because they do not understand the meaning of future. They relate themselves only to the present.
The only way to expect that children learn perseverance is for parents to become demanding. Parents must become demanding in few things so that children can concentrate on developing this virtue. For example insisting and demanding that they eat everything that is on their plate before standing up from their seat, of course not a huge dish with enormous portions but a small quantity of food adequate for their age and capacity.
Parents should expect and insist that their children finish their homework alone not depending on their parents just because they are lazy. You could give them few chores to do daily or weekly and insisting that they do these odd jobs regularlywith care and concentration. These are only few ways and methods how parents can teach and help their childrento learn perseverance. The aim is for them to gain, with their own personal capacity and character, a quality and a virtue.
It is in fact through the method of giving children few responsibilitiesand chores regularly that they start to achieve step by step the importance of perseverance, and gradually this capacity will become the essential part of their character. Perseverance is not taken into consideration by parents, therefor it is not taught easily nor is it considered as an important virtue. It would be wise to understand and develop the capacity to teach this quality to children which then through time will become a virtue. Children do not usually like the idea of doing something when it is proposed to them, the idea that they will have great results in the future. They do not know the use and the importance of future. They cannot even imagine themselves as adults let alone planning for the future.
Therefore it becomes parents’ duty to insist and be quite strong in teaching them the importance of doing something that it will be useful to them in the future. Parents should guide their children in understanding to face difficulties in doing something. Children need to know that complications are normalprocedures but at the same time it is satisfactory aiming to have results at the end. Of course explaining the reasons and why it is expected of them to do something and that the harder they try the more difficulties they might face.
Here are few of the difficulties children might face while they are learning the virtue of perseverance. Perseverance really means extending the way we try to do things and not giving up,being constant insteadit really helps to overcome all the aspects of the difficulties. Activities that cannot be interrupted and need to be regularly and constantly practiced can be of great difficulty for all of us.
For example faith is one of those activities that we carry out till we are alive and we obtain the results of our aim after we are dead. This is an extremely difficult process and it is carried out only by being touched by grace of God and being convinced about your choice in faith. If we understand the use of perseverance, we may have fewer difficulties in carrying out a project or activity.
A long term project can only be experiencedin serenity if it is totally our choice and when we are aware of the length of time it will take usdoing it. This is why it is not possible for children or adolescents to project so much ahead of time and to understand the advantages of something done today and having the results in the future.
It should not be expected of children to focus on what their parents did or the results they obtained. We must remember that especially these days’ children are so much against the way their parents lived their lives or how they were brought up. Children today do not put themselves in the position of wanting advice from their parents; they feel their parents have nothing to teach them or that they are too old fashion.
Nonetheless, if we are in front of a situation where we are teaching a long period project, in that case we can divide the project into several different parts as to gain different level of capacity. This is a very practical method even for us adults in reaching our aims. It is not to say that we are making our aims less important by applying this method, actually we become more determine and enthusiastic because we can accomplish positive results after a small step that we take to reach a part of our project. So, really smaller steps but greater number of satisfactions.
Obviously we should not under estimate our emotional feelings which usually have a great part when carrying out a project planning to achieve results. These feelings which occur due to difficulties in the process of the project can emotionally break us into pieces and stop us from going forward. Generally the first negative emotional feeling occurs there is less enthusiasm. This could happen because we are alone and have to carry out most of the project alone and have to make decisions for which we fear the results.
Secondly we could become tired of struggling and working hard trying to overcome the barriers. Thirdly when we want to stop everything because at this point we are not as determine and interested as we were initially. That is exactly when perseverance is destroyed and the whole plan falls apart. As you can see it would be unproductive expecting a young child to understand when you suggest something to him that will happen in the future.
For example saying to a child “if you study hard during the year I shall buy you a bicycle at the end of the school year. The child is not capable of programming so long ahead. There are also cases when parents do not actually know what to propose to their children or something to aim at. This problem is due to the fact that they do not know their children well enough to propose the right and adequate situation. It is always advisable to propose a child a situation considering his age capacities qualities and what in that moment you have in mind to teach him, not forgetting the principle reasons for which you are teaching him that virtue.
It is very helpful, having him to concentrate on a project or on a person or even a job explaining to him what it is expected of him. For example looking after an elderly person, reordering his room teaching him what are the benefits and why he should reorder his room and finally for example being on time at the table and getting up from the table when he has actually finished his meal and not before.
First of all, your idea of proposing something to the child should be an interesting one, inviting him and creating a pleasant and fun situation. He needs to think that you went into the trouble of finding the right situation for him and of course making sure you give him a hand at the beginning in describing how the job is supposed to be done. He should not feel abandoned in that new situation proposed by his parent but accompanied.
He could be a type of a child that easily gets tired and wants to do something new each time and in this you need to be demanding and constant in expecting him to finalize the job and then incase going into something new. If he is unable to do the job it should not be because he is lazy but because he was asked to do too much. In fact if the child constantly changes projects and does not finish them he will always be unhappy with himself for not having completed anything. If as a parent you develop a sense of pride in him you could help him to overcome the problem of failing his projects.
It is helpful for example if parents offer a situation in which they ask their child in becoming better in something but this can be positive only if the parents too decide to learn other virtues and to improve their limits.
At times it is possible that the child makes mistakes in carrying out something, it happens to us adults too. It would be positive talking to him and not accusing him of the error, obviously not under estimating what happened but at the same time not making him feel ashamed of it. Helping him to find the answers and then helping him to get up and stand on his feet again and being there for him if he wants you.
Another error is when a person wants to correct many things all at the same time. We must have a realistic point to aim at and mainly we should not have many projects dreaming to achieve them all at the same time. It is not possible to live unrealistically. We can get lost and most of all our achievements will not be permanent. Even as parents we should be careful to not expect many things in a short time all at the same time. This can only confuse the child.
In order to be perseverant it is necessary to teach the child to be prudent, to listen to adults for an advice, in particular they should see their parents oriented. Just to think every advice not asked for can drastically limit a child. It is however very important that the child is oriented, understands and has a clear idea about his responsibilities. A parent is not always there to direct his child. Parents, once they have given their child the necessary indications must begin to also have faith in his capacities and capabilities.
It is time to allow him independency in his choices respecting his point of view, being near him but trusting him and showing him their trust as parents in him. If we realize that his is not achieving his aims it could be because he does not trust his own capacities or he has no self-esteem. Sometimes in order to help them we should be able to talk to children in order to understand how we can help them. It could be either by talking to his teacher, professor or a specialist such as a psychiatrist or a psychoanalyst or another specialist.
However I personally think that our children can first of all and most of all learn the meaning of perseverance by observing us in being constant and stubborn in loving each other as parents. Our faith in each other, our admiration, and our courage in feeling love and affection through our everyday life together can only be the perfect description and meaning of perseverance for our children. They would have the true and authentic reasons of perseverance
Let’s not be afraid of anything. Let’s LOVE and not be afraid. The amount in which we will love, God will help us to overcome every difficulty. We can obtain everything if we become Seraphs.