Determination and Perseverance

It’s been some time since I’ve written a post on character traits and thought what better one to get on back on track with than determination and perseverance!

I believe these two traits go hand in hand. Determination is making a firm decision or resolve to accomplish something and perseverance is the ability to keep moving forward despite difficulties and challenges. I absolutely think that if we aren’t firm in our belief, the desire to persevere greatly diminishes.

This character trait can be especially difficult to teach because honestly, the best way to learn these skills is by experience, which often can place us in uncomfortable and stressful situations.  It’s hard to watch your child suffer through hardships, especially if we ourselves haven’t learned to cope in a healthy manner.  Life is full of trials and there is no escape from that. It has become extremely common for parents to step into their children’s lives in an attempt to “save” them from problems. I am not opposed to offering guidance and support to our children, but what good are we doing them if we jump in the water to rescue them the moment they start splashing?  Isn’t it better to teach them to swim?  I can’t be their lifeguard forever and neither can you.

The Burgess book series offers many opportunities to discuss perseverance and determination. A few examples include:

  • The Adventures of Grandfather Frog (Chapter 10): Grandfather Frog is determined to go out into the Great World even though he has never been there and knows nothing of the dangers that await him.
  • The Adventures of Jerry Muskrat (Chapter 14): Spotty the Turtle keeps going despite that he is the slowest.
  • The Adventures of Peter Cottontail (Chapters 18-22): Peter won’t give up until he finds out why his friends are so busy ahead of winter.

 

Books and activities for teaching determination and perseverance

*This post contains affiliate links, which does not mean you pay extra to purchase products through my links.  It does mean that we receive a small commission for recommending these items if you purchase.  Please read our disclosure policy for more information.

Below I’ve suggested some ways we can help prepare our children to not be victims of their circumstance, but to train them on the skills to overcome and press on. Do you have a strong-willed child?  Even though this can be challenging to deal with as a parent, it is an example of determination that can be beneficial to the child later in life!

 


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Honesty

Honesty shows up consistently throughout the Thornton Burgess books.  Characters play tricks or lie to get what they want or keep out of trouble.

Honesty is not only telling the truth but also includes the ability to be fair, sincere, genuine, and respectable.  Honesty often is associated with trust because when someone is caught lying, we consider them to be untrustworthy.  A few examples of this trait include:

  • Old Mother West Wind (Chapter 10): Sammy Jay steals Happy Jack’s nuts and doesn’t admit that he did it.
  • The Adventures of Peter Cottontail (Chapter 16): Reddy Fox lies about how he got hurt.
  • The Adventures of Chatterer the Red Squirrel (Chapter 6): Peter Rabbit snoops to find out where Chatterer’s new home will be.

Kids learn to lie at an early age.  Many times it’s a lie to avoid getting into trouble.  As a parent, sometimes it’s difficult to know when a child is being honest, especially if you weren’t there to witness the situation or if you are told different stories by multiple children.  Who do you believe?  How do you instill the importance of honesty without dampening the spirit?  Let’s admit, whether lying or telling the truth, if trouble was caused there will be a consequence.  Teaching honesty and sincerity BEFORE, IN BETWEEN, and AFTER those situations arise is the best way to ensure your child is listening and learning.  In the midst of the moment, anger and defensiveness can block the eyes and ears from experiencing truth.

Teacher and parent resources and activities for the character trait of honesty as taught in the classic literature stories of Thornton W. Burgess

*This post contains affiliate links.  This simply means that we receive a small commission when you purchase items through our site.  It helps support the website and enables us to continue providing you quality information and product recommendations.  Please read our disclosure policy for more information.

 

Honesty Activities

Below we’ve listed activities, links, and books that will help teach the character trait of honesty. We’ve also included several books as teacher/parent helps on this subject.

  • Honesty curriculum: free downloads and videos
  • Choose a story to read to your kids.  Afterwards let them sum up the story to you in their own words.  Then tell them it’s your turn and exaggerate the details of the story you just read.  Ask them if that’s truly how the story was told.  Explain how exaggeration can also be a form of dishonesty.
  • Read The Boy Who Cried Wolf and discuss with these guided questions.
  • Honesty is the Best Policy lesson plan (for middle school)
  • Honesty printable worksheets
  • Honesty games for kids
  • Choose a card or board game to play with your child.  Discuss the importance of following the rules and what happens when someone cheats to win.
  • Role playing different situations is a great way to get kids to understand and problem solve when it comes to matters of telling the truth (cashier gives the the wrong amount of change, a classmate says they have the answers to a test, a library book is damaged, etc.)
  • The Lie Monster lesson
  • Discuss the difference between fiction and nonfiction books. Help your child sort some books into these two categories.  Talk about the differences between pretending and lying.
  • Discuss the importance of reading or watching the news (to find out what’s happening locally and around the world, weather, sports, etc.). Ask whether we should always believe this information. (This is a good opportunity to explain the importance of the source and understanding there are often two sides to every story.)
  • Read A Penny’s Worth of Character. This is a chapter book that will take several settings to read.  It’s an excellent story about a boy who wants his favorite treat from the store, but is dishonest in how he gets it.
  • Teach preschooler’s about honesty.
  • Talk about how Jesus dealt with Peter when he lied.
  • Classroom resources for teaching honesty (lesson plans, activities, and worksheets)
  • Memorize Bible verses about honesty (Proverbs 12:19 and Proverbs 12:22 are good ones to start with)
⇒ Check out our Pinterest page on honesty for more books and lesson ideas! ⇐

Honesty Books

Honesty Help

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Obedience

“I will hurry, without delay, to obey your commands.” Psalm 119:60

Obedience is something we are taught early on. Adults and children alike must obey. Obedience is being able to follow the rules or recognize someone’s authority and respecting others. It would be a chaotic world if no one chose to follow rules or each other. Animals can be taught to obey, and there are plenty of opportunities to see obedience (or disobedience) in the Thornton Burgess books! A few examples of this trait include:

  • The Adventures of Prickly Porky (Chapter 6): Peter Rabbit obeys Mrs. Rabbit when she tells him not to tell anyone his story.
  • The Adventures of Reddy Fox (Chapter 21): Reddy Fox doesn’t listen to Granny and finds himself in big trouble.
  • Old Mother West Wind (Chapter 5): One of the Merry Little Breezes doesn’t come when Mother calls and is left behind.

Teaching children to obey can definitely be challenging. The moment they are able to explore the world around them, they also begin testing rules and boundaries. Having consequences in place for when rules are broken can be a good way to be prepared for teaching obedience, because rules WILL be broken!

Explain to your children that even we, as adults, have to obey as well. We obey rules when we are at work or driving a car. Ask your kids “what would happen if” questions. There are many stories about obedience in the Bible that we can teach. Jonah and the Fish (Jonah),  Samuel listens and obeys (1 Samuel 17: 12-20), Jacob and Esau (Genesis 25:19-28), Daniel obeys God (1 Daniel), and Noah builds the Ark (Genesis chapters 6-9). Obedience comes from God, out of love. Help your children know obeying is an act of love, a way to honor God.

Books on Obedience

*This post contains affiliate links.  We receive a small commission when you purchase items through our site.  This helps support the website and enables us to continue providing you quality information and product recommendations.  Please read our disclosure policy for more information.

 

Obedience Activities

Below we’ve listed activities, links, and books that will help teach the character trait of obedience. We’ve also included several books as teacher/parent helps on this subject.

⇒ Check out our Pinterest page on obedience for more books and lesson ideas! ⇐

Obedience Books

Obedience Help

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Patience

Patience is certainly a virtue that everyone should have, animals not excluded.  Not only do animals need to be patient in hunting for food, they need to have patience when being hunted!

Patience is having the ability to withstand long periods of waiting without losing interest or focus.  It also means enduring discomfort or disturbances without complaining or getting angry.  Patience goes hand in hand with perseverance and determination.  Patience is a fruit of the spirit: a characteristic of a life living for God.  A few examples of patience found in the Thornton W. Burgess books include:

  • The Adventures of Grandfather Frog (Chapter 4): Longlegs the Heron waits for his chance to eat Grandfather Frog
  • The Adventures of Chatterer the Red Squirrel (Chapter 15): Farmer Brown’s Boy takes his time making friends with Chatterer.
  • Old Mother West Wind (Chapter 7): Jimmy Skunk has patience searching for beetles.

Teaching kids to have patience will take patience!  One of the best ways to teach is by example.  When waiting in a long line, play a game with your child.  This helps them focus on something fun instead of complaining about the wait time.  Be careful about what you say and how you say it: adults who whine and complain within earshot of children will hear similar words when a difficult situation is upon the child.  Delayed gratification helps children understand that we can’t always get what we want in life immediately and will produce a heart of gratitude once the object is obtained or the wait is over.

Books on Patience

*This post contains affiliate links, which does not mean you pay extra to purchase products through my links.  It does mean that we receive a small commission for recommending these items if you purchase.  Please read our disclosure policy for more information.

 

Below we’ve listed activities, links, and books that will help teach the character trait of patience. We’ve also included several books as teacher/parent helps on this subject.

⇒ Check out our Pinterest board on patience ⇐

Patience Books

Patience Help

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Attentiveness

There are plenty of occasions in the Thornton Burgess books where the creatures need or portray the character trait of attentiveness.  These are woodland animals we’re talking about and they certainly have to be wary of predators!

Being attentive means to pay close attention to your surroundings: looking and listening carefully; being observant; showing concern for others and their needs.  A few examples of this trait include:

  • The Adventures of Reddy Fox (Chapter 5): Reddy forgets to watch for danger
  • The Adventures of Grandfather Frog (Chapter 14): Grandfather Frog ignores the warnings from Danny Meadow Mouse
  • Old Mother West Wind (Chapter 3): Johnny Chuck wanders too far from home

Teaching attentiveness to children is important.  This trait trains kids to be good listeners at home and in the classroom.  It helps develop the skill of following directions.  Being attentive encourages kids to use caution in unfamiliar situations and when making decisions.  It also promotes a healthy awareness and consideration to others’ emotional and/or physical needs.

Teacher and parent resources and activities for the character trait of attentiveness as taught in the classic literature stories of Thornton W. Burgess*This post contains affiliate links.  We receive a small commission when you purchase items through our site.  This helps support the website and enables us to continue providing you quality information and product recommendations.  Please read our disclosure policy for more information.

 

Below we’ve listed activities, links, and books that will help teach the character trait of attentiveness. We’ve also included several books as teacher/parent helps on this subject (some are activity books to promote focus).

 

AttentivenessActivities

  • Attentiveness curriculum: free downloads and videos
  • Blindfold your child and have him identify various sounds (whispers, keyboard typing, water running, traffic sounds, birds singing, door closing, footsteps, etc.). This game can be played for smell, touch and taste, too.
  • Play the telephone game: have students sit in a circle and whisper a word or phrase that is passed around to each child.  The last child to hear the phrase tells everyone what they heard.  Is it the same or different from what it was at the start?
  • Ways to build attentiveness
  • Take a car ride to an unfamiliar location.  Tell your kids to pay attention to signs and/or landscape markers and see if they can guide the car back home again.
  • Hide an object that makes noise.  Have kids follow the sound to find it.
  • An in-depth look at what attentiveness is (listening with our heart)
  • Listen to different music genres and have children identify them when played back.
  • Cover one eye and try tossing a ball into a basket.  Try again with both eyes and see what difference it makes.  This helps show the importance of depth perception.
  • Attentiveness unit study for preK and kindergarten
  • Study and identify animal tracks
  • Research local birds and listen to their calls.  See if your child can identify the calls of the birds when outside.
  • Have children create maps for each other.  Hide an object that can be found only with the use of the map.  See how well children follow directions.
  • Command 3 attentiveness game
  • Attentiveness: Lessons, crafts, Bible stories
  • Study/research the behavior patterns of your dog or cat.  See if your child can identify what mood the animal is in by its behavior.  What kinds of behavior should we be very attentive to?
  • Discuss animals and how they use camouflage for protection. Look at photos to see animals in disguise.
  • Decide on a “simple” recipe to make in the kitchen and discuss the importance of following directions.

Attentiveness

HelpforAttentiveness

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Teaching Character Traits

Character traits are a big thing.  Sometimes I forget that kids don’t have the innate sense of what is proper.  I forget that what I consider “common sense” isn’t even a speck on their radar.  When kids play sports, there’s a lot of practice that goes into developing their skills.  We don’t just throw them out on the court or field and expect outstanding results.  The same goes for character traits.  We must continually coach our children in the ways we want them to behave.

This is why we’ve decided that, in addition to the collection of Burgess book activities and resources, we’re going to start a series of posts that revolve around the character traits found in the Thornton W. Burgess books.  Each post will center upon a specific character trait, which will include a brief description, as well as links to activities and book suggestions that help define this trait even further.

CharacterTraits

Let’s be honest here: not all character traits are positive.  Though we want our children to learn and develop the “good” ones, each of us experience weakness and difficulty in certain areas of our lives.  This is no different for children.  Talking about negative traits and reading stories about others who struggle with similar issues is especially beneficial to children.  It gives them the reassurance that they are not alone in experiencing negative behavior and helps them identify ways in which to change it.

Here are some of the traits we hope to cover:

Positive Character Traits Other Traits & Issues
acceptance/uniqueness anger
attentiveness greed
caring stealing
compassion stubbornness
contentment/gratitude moving
courage/bravery/overcoming fear being lost
curiosity
determination/perseverance
forgiveness
friendship
generosity/giving
helpfulness/neighborliness
honesty
obedience
patience
resourcefulness/problem-solving
respect
sharing

We look forward to writing this series.  As parents and teachers, we are always searching for more ways to teach our kids how to get along in the world.  Sometimes we encounter traits in our children that are embarrassing to admit to friends and family, so we go in search of information via the web in hopes to come across a resource that will help provide guidance and answers.  Our hope is that, at the very least, we can be a stepping stone for you in the right direction.

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