When you hit a brick wall every corner you turn, giving up is the easy way out. Now, if parents, the adults, feel this way, imagine how teens feel when they are faced with what appears to be insurmountable mountains!
My favorite quote of all times is
“Never give up!”
by Winston Churchill. This is my mantra! When I was a little girl, my family’s home burned to the ground. We lost everything we owned. I remember nothing of this except when we moved into a mobile home while my Daddy began building our new home. I only know the sadness from stories from my family. What I remember, however, is how my family stuck together and built a home from the ground up. I remember perseverance, steadfastness, tenacity. I remember strength and hope as we built our home little by little. Over forty years later, this is what I still remember…strength and hope.
This strength and hope that my parents instilled in me during such a difficult time provided me with one of the most important tools for my life. Some call it tenacity, others calls it perseverance, and yet others call it steadfastness. All three words mean the same thing: Never give up!
From this experience and those with my own children, I have surmised 3 successful tips for instilling a never give up attitude in children:
1. Love your child with all your heart…no matter his age.
Teens often don’t make that easy to do. When I was a teen, I was a spoiled brat. There is 9 years between my next oldest sibling and me. My parents tried for 9 years to have me, so to say I was spoiled is an understatement. Remember though, my family lost everything in the fire, so they did not have material things to spoil with. Rather they spoiled me with an immense amount of love.
Mama did the majority of the spoiling. Daddy, on the other hand, was the “bad guy.” I remember thinking that he didn’t love me. Why? Because he wouldn’t let me have my way. However, in the end of Daddy’s life, I realized he loved me more than anyone in this life. You see, amidst a horrific and violent marriage, I pushed my parents away. This lasted for almost a decade.
Daddy NEVER gave up on me!
He prayed and kept trying to get me to talk to him. I was terrified of my now ex-husband. How dare I disobey him; now, that’s a story for another time. I will never forget calling my Daddy collect for the first time in years and hearing his sweet voice on the phone, accepting my call. He knew I would call. He had faith in God and in me. He had faith in the love he had truly shown me. He never gave up. And for him, I will never give up.
2. Give your child hope.
What is more depressing than thinking there is no hope? A sense of hopelessness can drown an innocent victim.
The college entrance experience was a challenging time for my daughter. First, she was terrified she wouldn’t be accepted. She wanted to go to SCAD. She wanted to pursue her passion: Art. And SCAD was where she wanted to do so. I continued to ensure her that she would get accepted. Sarah had the most well-rounded resume for a high school student. My head spun helping her get her resume together, and I thought I was a busy student. Sarah was the ultimate juggler. She still is!
Next came the financial aid struggle. We worked hours and hours, night after night, on scholarships and other financial aid. It was a close call, from which we learned many lessons, but her first year was covered. I remember celebrating that night! Together, we never gave up, and together we celebrated.
Hope fuels success!
3. Live by example.
In other words, practice what you preach!
You are your child’s first example!
If your teen sees that you give up every time you feel pressure, they will see no reason to persevere. This fuels low self-esteem.
As a former math teacher, I firmly believe there is a solution to EVERY problem. The key is when you first don’t succeed, try another way to skin the same cat. There is always more than one true method to solve a problem. Live by this in your own life. Like my Daddy, when our home burned down, he rebuilt, and he built a beautiful home in which our family created the most beautiful of memories. He made lemonade out of lemons and showed all his children how to rise above the highest mountains.
My kids have truly gone through some difficulties and statistics would dictate they should be failures. However, they are the most amazing kids! Not because they are mine. No! Because they have been truly resilient and risen above the odds stacked against them.
Children who don’t have this type of positive influence in their lives often become statistics, whether it be from drug or alcohol abuse, physical abuse, prostitution, suicide, etc.
I know teens are often difficult to love.
Believe me! My daughter truly challenged me. This doesn’t mean you give up on loving them as their parent. It just means you have to get a little bit creative with how you love them!
Love, hope, and example grow a well-rounded, steadfast individual. They instill perseverance, tenacity, steadfastness…tools that will help one survive the worst catastrophes.
May we all persevere and be steadfast!
All the best,
Song of Sapelo Sunset
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