Perseverance: Refusing to Give Up When Life Gets Hard

It's May, and this month our Character Foundations program is turning to Perseverance, which is defined as refusing to give up when life gets hard. Perseverance is something St. Johns Spartans know a lot about, whether we're talking about our Varsity Girls Soccer team, which has worked so hard over years to garner their reputation in the top 5 teams in the nation (by the United Soccer Coaches Association), or we're looking at our four amazing National Merit Scholarship Finalists this year. Spartans know how to work hard. But some times it's tough to figure out where to get started and how to help set your youngster on that path. Read on to learn more!


Help your child learn what perseverance means: Perseverance means refusing to give up when life gets hard.


Parents, ask your kid:

  • Have you ever had a hard time with learning a concept at school? What did you do in order to finally accomplish your goal and learn?
  • Can you think of a time when you have given up on something? How did it feel when you gave up? Now think of a time when you powered through and accomplished a goal even when it was hard. Contrast the two feelings.

Kids, ask a grown up: 

  • What are examples of things in your life that have been hard to persevere through as an adult or as a child?
  • What are some things that you have done that have helped you persevere?
  • Are there people in your life that you go to for help when life gets tough?


Sit down together as a family and watch this scene from the movie The Princess and the Frog. This music scene depicts Tiana’s journey of getting closer to achieving her dreams. She works hard each day and saves all of her money in hopes of opening up her own restaurant one day. The song “Almost There” is a great musical representation of refusing to give up when life gets hard.


A physical test of perseverance might be the ticket this month. Challenge your family to take on a physical endeavor in the near future such as a local Relay for Life walk or 5K run. Prior to the challenge, discuss as a family ways that you can persevere even when the going gets tough.


Parents and kids can reinforce Character Foundations lessons by reading about them at home. Here are some books to start with:

Lower School:

  • The Most Beautiful Thing by Kao Kalia Yang
  • I Believe I Can by Grace Byers (Preschool-Kindergarten)
  • The Magical Yet by Angela DiTerlizzi (Preschool-Grade 1)
  • No Biggy! by Elycia Rubin (Prechool-Grade 1)
  • The Mixed Up Truck by Stephen Savage (Preschool-Grade 1)
  • Izzy Gizmo by Pip Jones (Preschool-Grade 2)
  • Cone Cat by Sarah Howden (Grades K-2)
  • The Thing Lou Couldn’t Do by Ashley Spires (Grades K-3)
  • The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires (Grades K-3)
  • One Word from Sophia by Jim Averbeck (Grades K-3)
  • Girl Versus Squirrel by Hayley Barrett (Grades K-3)
  • When Sophie Thinks She Can’t by Molly Bang (Grades 1-5)
  • Keep On! The Story of Matthew Henson by Deborah Hopkinson (Grades 2-5)
  • Ada’s Violin: The Story of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay by Suan Hood (Grades 2-5)
  • The Astronaut with a Song for the Stars by Julia Finley Mosca (Grades 3-5)

Middle/Upper School:

  • Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made Stephan Pastis (Grades 6+)
  • A Long Walk to Water: Based on a True Story by Linda Sue Park (Grades 6+)
  • Hatchet by Gary Paulsen (Grades 6-9)
  • Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper (Grades 7-12)
  • Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech (Grades 7+)
  • A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah (Grades 9+)
  • Fast Talk on a Slow Track by Rita Williams-Garcia (Grades 10-12)
  • Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech (Grades 7+)



  • Character Foundations