Monday, April 1, 2013

The Little Engine That Could

Do you remember reading the story, The Little Engine That Could when you were a child?  Did you chant along with the Little Engine, when it said, “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can” on its way up the hill and it exultation on the down side of the hill when it chugged, “I thought I could, I thought I could…?”  I believe that most kids enjoy this story, but I am not always sure that the message of the story sticks with them into adulthood. 

The fact of the matter is this; everything in life is not easy.  In fact, most of the things worth having aren’t easy to come by.  Think about it, if gold were plentiful it wouldn’t be valuable.  It is valuable because there isn’t a readily available supply.  That’s the way it is with achievement.  It takes time and effort combined with desire and perseverance.  The reason the Little Engine made it to the top of the hill was not because it was the biggest, the shiniest, or the most likely, it made it to the top because it didn’t give up, it kept going even when the evidence demonstrated that it might not be successful.

This is a lesson we need to help our young people today understand.  In the words of either Joseph Kennedy or Knute Rockne (they’ve both been given credit), “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.”  In other words, when the situation is hard, those who can persevere and remain strong don’t quit.  Every day in our programs we need to help young people understand that they need to stick to it, especially when it is difficult.  It will strengthen their “perseverance muscle” which will help them to delay the need for gratification in a world that appreciates quick and instant.

Perseverance is one of the 16 identified Habits of the Mind, fundamental in the actualization of the Common Core Standards.  Check in with C4K to learn about training on strategies to implement the Habits of the Mind in your afterschool program.  Log on to Consult4Kids  and enter your interest in the Training Request Tab.  

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