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4 Phrases to Encourage Your Kids to Persevere!

In honor of the Perseverance rover landing on Mars last week, we are celebrating the virtue for which this space craft is named! And, let's be honest (and obvious!), too many of us have also persevered through a tough past twelve months. We can all relate, and Primerrily is here to offer solidarity, inspiration, and motivation. . . looking to one of our country's Founding Fathers is a great place to start! Which one, you ask? Hint: today is his birthday!

Often, when we think about President George Washington and other admirable historical figures, we tend to think their stories are only made of one success after another. To the contrary, it’s the setbacks they encountered which gave them the tools they needed to achieve the victories we remember. We’re not sure exactly what advice our Founding Father George was given on his life’s journey, but we’re leaning on his example. Inspired by his personal and professional stories -- including failures, struggles, and successes -- the below phrases are a few which we hope absorb into our kid’s hearts and minds

1. We will get through this. (Last name)s persevere. (Last name)s do hard things.

A few months ago my kids started whining in a new way, "But it's tooooo haaaaard." I'd say, "Please brush your teeth." They'd say, "But it's tooooo haaaaard." I'd say, "Please put your shoes on your feet." They'd say, "But it's tooooo haaaaard." I'd say, "Please take your shoes off." They'd say, "But it's tooooo haaaaard." I used to try to convince them, "It's not hard. Stop whining. Pick up the toothbrush." But then I realized they were resisting for the sport of it. So I called their bluff and turned it into a challenge. I told them, "It's hard? No problem. Riners persevere. Riners do hard things." Then I turned it into a chant (see the "We are a team"). I marched around and sang like a drumbeat, "Riners do hard things. Riners do hard things." It was amazing to see them rise to the occasion and want to demonstrate their strength. A few days later, they asked me to reach something, and without thinking, I said it was hard to reach. My daughter exhorted me, "Mama, Riners do hard things. You can do it!" And I did.

2. Hard work is good work.

This phrase is a continuation of the last one. It’s all about helping your kids understand that most good things come as a result of hard work. Persevering through the hard work is like “magic” turning hard things into good things. My daughter is currently transitioning from writing in all capital letters to lowercase letters. Neighbors, I forgot how tough that is! From straight lines and sharp angles, to strange curves and letters that look all too similar, it is frustrating for little hands.

Interestingly, my bigger hands have been frustrated as well. I gave birth to my third child just a few weeks before the quarantine began. Adjusting to homebound life with three kids ages 4 and under in the middle of a pandemic was difficult. Thankfully I had friends validating the struggle and affirming my ability to persevere: “Yes, going from two to three kids is hard; the newborn stage is hard, and the pandemic is hard, and all that hard adds up to a lot more than just hard times 3... But don’t grow weary in the hardship. Tucked into it, I had a good thing in expanding my family in number, in welcoming a baby girl and seeing young sibling love blossom. The last few months have been hard work, but I remind myself (with the help of friends and family!) that is good work… for instance, of how good it is every time I see my 6-month-old smile.

As I tucked my big little girl into bed one night, she told me she didn’t like lowercase letters. They were too hard. I empathized and said, “Yes, I remember writing those