If you’re really going to help your kids value determination, you’re going to be swimming against the cultural tide.  When it’s easy to quit, easy to change and there are a thousand other options at our fingertips, sticking it out to the very end is just difficult no matter how old you are.

That’s why it’s so important to redefine the win for your kids.  If you want to encourage them to stay determined for the long term, create some short term wins.

When I joined a gym a while back, I knew I was in for a life-style overhaul. How do you keep someone motivated when the change is permanent?  I was determined, but not that determined.

Fortunately, my trainer is smart.  He always sets short term goals.  He helped me track my diet daily. He checked my progress weekly and did thorough assessments monthly.

And he kept showing me that the small steps were adding up.  A turning point for me happened this way: like the rest of the free world, I first joined the gym in January.  One September afternoon, I asked him what percentage of people who began in January endured all the way to September.  He said in his best estimate, only about 5% were still left. That stopped me in my tracks. I hadn’t made all of my long term goals (still working on them), but somehow knowing that I was in the top 5% of people who endured made me realize I could keep up this kind of change for life. He helped me see I had made some short term steps toward long term progress.

To really help you kids endure, try to find ways to encourage them in what they’re doing today.

  • Maybe the entire project isn’t done, but you can celebrate the two steps they’ve completed.
  • Their room might not be fully cleaned, but if tonight they got the closet cleared out, cheer them on.
  • If they’re not reading their Bible as often as you’d like, encourage them for what they have read and tell them it’s a great step in the right direction.

Helping your kids see they’ve won in some small way today might help them stay determined to win in a very significant way tomorrow.  We can all use some encouragement. Who better than a parent to give it?