We’ve been participating in recreational basketball for three seasons now.  It hasn’t come easy to the kids, but they don’t want to stop. They are ok with just participating.  I am not.

Maybe for some things I would be fine with just participating.  Maybe if the other kids weren’t progressing so well, it would be ok.  But the other kids have gotten better and I feel there is no reason that my kids can’t also.

I know it sounds bad.  I know I shouldn’t use the other kids as a benchmark.   What matters is if my kids are doing their best.  And they are not. (If they were, I might try to persuade them to do something they would be better at.  That sounds terrible, but that’s also another topic to deal with separately.)

So we have been going to the gym to practice more.  We also signed up for an 8 lesson basketball class at the gym.  And they are finally showing some improvement.

No, I didn’t enjoy having to go to the gym even more frequently.  And it was pretty discouraging this past year.  I worried that they wouldn’t get better despite even more practice.  But we kept going and finally there were signs of hope.

What made me not give up? Well, it took the youngest a long time to get the hang of swimming.  He’s still not great, but he’s much better then before.  And then there’s reading which the youngest really struggled with for a long time,  but he is much better at it now.  And then of course there’s my personality, I don’t mind working at most things even if it takes a while.  When it got so discouraging, I set goals for them, along with a plan.

But what if they didn’t get better, or if they don’t continue to do better?  Well, they were definitely better than when they first started.  Either way, we learned valuable lessons on values, persistence, goals and time management.

How much time do you give to learn a new skill?  How many times do you keep going despite lack of progress?  What helps you to persist despite lack of progress?



2 thoughts on “Persistence

  1. Great topic! It took persistence when I taught my now 7-year-old how to read at the age of five. I knew he was ready because he showed all the signs of reading readiness, plus he’d said he wanted to learn. However, we got off to a rather rocky start. In the end, I learned I simply had to reevaluate my teaching method. Once I changed my method, the results were quite dramatic. He went from barely reading one word to confidently reading all by himself by the end of his kindergarten year. I take a similar approach to anything else in life, whether it be sports, art, acting, etc. If my kid is really committed to the activity or subject but just isn’t getting it, my next assumption is that maybe the coach or instructor doesn’t cater to his learning style. An example of a time when I had to do this was last year in Taekwondo class. I noticed that my son was struggling with his form. One day, there was a substitute instructor and I noticed how well my son was responding to him. Afterward, I started taking my son to this particular instructor’s class, and my son’s form improved so much.

    1. Great info! I didn’t even think of trying another approach or method. I really have to remember that. I also just read that focused practice, when you evaluate your weaknesses, versus evaluating your progress, makes a big difference in improving one’s skill. Thank you for sharing your stories. So many times I remember how trying more won’t matter. Hearing stories where trying more has mattered will help counter the negative stories I remember so easily. And yay! on the reading. and the Tae Kwon Do class! I know what that feels like!

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