The word for January & February is
Of the Six Words chosen by our community (Responsibility, Respect, Perseverance, Safety, Integrity, Kindness), Perseverance is the word for March and April. It is fitting that this is the word for this time of year, when winter seems to linger and spring teases us with the occasional warm day, only to follow with a volley of cold rain and one last punch of snow. What keeps us going when March seems to both come in and go out as a lion and April feels more like February? It is the hope of spring that we are reminded of on those warm days and with the lengthening daylight.
Finding this ray of hope and clinging to it helps us push through when times are tough. As a teacher, I constantly preach the Gospel of Grit, encouraging students to develop that combination of perseverance, determination, and strength of character that experts say is the secret to success. More important than intelligence or natural talent, and the driving force behind sustained effort and motivation, “grit” is what allows us to finish a task even when we don’t feel like it by pushing through when the going gets tough. Developing grit takes time and effort, as well as support from others. One way to build grit is to find examples of perseverance in other people. It may encourage us to remember that Walt Disney was once fired for a “lack of imagination” and Oprah Winfrey was declared “unfit for television.” Steve Harvey was homeless at one point and George Lopez was abandoned by his mother; both have used these experiences as material for their hugely successful routines. Dolores Huerta used the racial discrimination she experienced as a child as fuel to fight injustice throughout her life, and Nelson Mandela earned a law degree and orchestrated political change that helped topple apartheid while unjustly imprisoned for over two decades.
Examples like these encourage us to keep going against the odds. Then, once we persevere and find some success, we create for ourselves our own examples of perseverance and can look back at our own triumphs to keep going. Just like on the cold days before spring truly settles in, we need a ray of hope. Over the next few weeks, let us consider how we can be that ray of hope for those around us, what examples of grit we can find for ourselves, and what models of perseverance we can be for others.
Got a great story of grit and perseverance? E-mail it to firstname.lastname@example.org or post it to social media using the hashtag #getcaughtwithcharacter.
Supported and sponsored with enthusiasm by:
Mano a Mano Family Resource Center, Trinity Christian Center, and Zion Park District
Six Words. That’s all it takes to define a community. Starting January 1st, the Zion-Benton Coalition for Healthy Communities will begin its Community of Character campaign. Throughout 2016, the campaign will put emphasis on one of the six words, changing every other month.
The words are:
Respect – I treat others the way I want to be treated.
Perseverance – I stay the course to reach my goals.
Responsibility – I am accountable for my actions and attitudes.
Safety – I take action to address harm.
Integrity – I do the right thing, even when no one is watching.
Kindness – I demonstrate care and concern.
The Coalition of Healthy Communities ask that everyone who lives, works, or shops in the area participate in the campaign by exercising the words above to make the community that much better of a place to be.
Join in on the conversation and participate in the Zion-Benton Community of Character initiative, please visit www.facebook.com/ZBCommunityofCharacter.
|Community of Character||2nd Wednesdays||Coalition Office
1316 7th Street
Winthrop Harbor, IL 60096