When my oldest daughter, Melissa, was learning to talk one of her first words was persistence. I would ask her, what’s the magic word, and she would say, persistence. What’s that mean, I would ask, and she would say, try and try again. Lest anyone think I was attempting to start some sort of cult let me share with you how all this came about.
When I was in college I took a course in education psychology. My teacher hammered into us that parents create in their children a core set of fundamental beliefs that govern how the child will respond to the world. She emphasized that the number of ideas that would form this core group of beliefs would be relatively small but that they would have an indelible impact on the child. Normally this implanting of values is done by parents with very little thought. In most cases what we do reflects what our parents did. My instructor challenged us to sit down and carefully decide what theme or themes we want to create in our home. Her ideal was to consciously pass on the good we learned from our parents but to leave the bad behind.
She opined that if a parent tried to teach too many beliefs the parents impact would actually be diluted, so we had to create a focus for ourselves and our children. To create a theme in our home and in our child a handful of values or beliefs had to be reinforce to the exclusion of others. We had to write a short paper identifying the core values we would attempt to transfer to our children and why. For my class project I chose faith, family and persistence.
I took all this to heart and set about teaching Melissa persistence. Man did I succeed. Melissa’s persistence is legendary. There were times especially when she was a teenager that I had serious doubts about the wisdom of me teaching Melissa to be so persistent. To this day Melissa is focused and extremely persistent about everything in her life. She is truly amazing and fortunately she has learned some patience as she has gotten older.
When my second daughter, Kristina, was born I chose the same three core values I had taught Melissa but I added a fourth, patience.