Character Building - Perseverance
( Originally Published Early 1900's )
BY the time a child is nine or ten years old it will be able to understand and do a great variety of things, both mental and physical; and it will be learning of more with amazing rapidity. In view of this speed with which new impressions and opportunities come to him, he and his teachers need to pause from time to time and consider whether he is not losing good things almost as fast as he gains them. Some unheard-of interest suddenly attracts his attention, and he takes it up eagerly; but before he has half learned the facts connected with it, or acquired the skill necessary to make use of it, something else has presented itself, and his mind leaps off to that. This age is none too early, then, to preach Perseverance. The applications at first will be in small matters, of course, but these are the foundation-stones of habit. In these small ways is learned the virtue of persistency-sticking firmly to plan and purpose-which has so often been the real reason for successes. It is well for a youngster to acquire an ambition, or a hobby, if you please, and stick to it year after year, as a pleasing and elevating recreation. Encourage your child to form some plan, agreeing with his or her natural inclination, which is not too great for probable accomplishment, discuss it until it is well understood and forecast, and then do your best to see that it is not abandoned. This is the disciplinary value of forming local collections in natural history or archæology, of planting an orchard, or taking out a limited insurance, or gathering postage-stamps or picture-postcards. The parent's part (besides occasionally helping) is to warn the beginner against trying to do too much. Take the common matter of stamps. Not one boy or girl in ten thousand can hope to accumulate a really respectable stamp-collection of the whole world: but it is quite within the power of most young people, in the course of ten or a dozen years to make a really fine and valuable album representing some one country, as Mexico, or Canada, or Spain and her provinces. Upon a limited section, like that, a persevering lad might become a notable authority. Too great an undertaking brings discouragement, the effect of which is felt in respect to other enterprises.
Perseverance-"stick-to-it-iveness"-is one of the longest and strongest levers a man can possess who means to build a Palace of Success out of the materials at hand.
Simple things in the Library bearing upon this desirable trail are " Johnny and the Golden Goose," "Try Again," and "Persevere and Prosper" in Volume I. "Rustum," in Volume II, despite its fantastic features shows its hero a "sticker." In Volume III read "Robinson Crusoe," "Pilgrim's Progress," "Prince Life," and "Busy Idleness." Different, but of similar value, is "The Whale-Chase" in Volume IV. All the voyagers and adventurers told of in Volume VI possessed the power of persevering, but as specific instances see the "First Voyage of Columbus," "Ascent of Mount Ararat," and "The Great Albert Nyanza." In Volume IX become acquainted with the biographies of Ulysses S. Grant, Bernard Palissy, and read the division "Eminent Women." Good poems to dwell upon are "Haste Not! Rest Not!" and "Address to the Indolent" in Volume XI.