A Chapel Lesson on Perseverance
Posted March 15, 2012
A chapel lesson on perseverance from Joyce Roby:
I looked up the definition of perseverance in the dictionary. It said: “to continue doing something even in the face of difficulty with little or no prospect of succeeding.” This definition seems a little complicated.
A simpler definition of perseverance is to keep going even when it’s hard. Keep struggling until you reach your goal. The opposite is giving up. Perseverance is something we want each of you to have.
You already have and are experiencing perseverance. Think about when you learned to ride a bike. You had to try and try until you finally did. Another example is when you learned to read. You struggled to sound out word after word on a page and then one day you realized that you could read. Learning to play a musical instrument takes a lot of perseverance. When the year started, I heard all kinds of noise coming from the music room when the fifth graders were learning their instruments, but their perseverance has changed that noise from squawks into music.
Perseverance is very important to have. It takes hard work, patience, courage, and time. It takes a little bit more than you want to give: 5 more minutes, 5 more pushups. Perseverance requires you to give a little more than you think you can.
Why do we want you to develop this? Anyone successful or famous has this quality. They all have stick-to-it-iveness.
Albert Einstein was a scientist and mathematician and was considered to be very smart. He came up with important ideas about space, gravity and time. He has said, “It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.” That’s perseverance.
Thomas Edison discovered the filament that allows a light bulb to light. To do so, he tried over 6,000 substances until he got one to glow and keep glowing. As he went through these 6,000 trials, his friends thought he was crazy. He said, “I have not failed. I have just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” He persevered.
Susan B. Anthony was a Quaker. Early in her life, she and her family protected underground slaves. She spoke out at public events against slavery and fighting for women’s rights whenever she could. However, at some places, she was not allowed to speak because she was a woman. She tried for 50 years to gain the right for women to vote. She died in 1906, after lecturing for over 50 years. In 1920, the 19th Amendment (sometimes called the Susan B. Anthony amendment) gained full rights for women as citizens. She never gave up. She has said, “Failure is impossible.” She, too, persevered.
Never give up hope - whether it’s learning to play the guitar, overcome a learning difficulty, or getting your attempted basketball shots to go through the hoop.
My favorite story about perseverance is called Two Frogs in Trouble. Once upon a time, there were two frogs, Ollie and Sally, who were friends and decided to go on an adventure. They hopped off on a sunny day but hopped into a pail of fresh milk. Ollie said, “Oh no! What just happened?” Sally said, “I think we fell into a pail of milk. How can we get out of here?” They decided to swim and swim until someone would come to help. They swam for hours and hours. Ollie said, “I can’t swim anymore.” Sally encouraged him to just keep going. Ollie said, “It’s no use. We might as well stop. We might as well stop struggling.” Ollie sank to the bottom of the bucket. Now only Sally was left. Sally thought, “I give up. I’m going to sink today.” But then she decided to keep swimming and hope that someone would come to help her. Another two hours went by, and her little legs were almost paralyzed with exhaustion. But she thought, “If I give up, I’ll die. I need to keep trying until I can’t try anymore. Where there is life, there is hope.” So she kept going. Just as she felt completely numb, she started to sink, and her foot rested on something solid in the bucket. “Hey! I’m standing on a lump of butter!” She had churned the milk so much that she had churned it into a lump of butter. Using that lump as a platform, she jumped out of the bucket.
When the world says, “give up,” hope whispers, “try it one more time.” – Unknown.