What Is Perseverance?

In The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, one of our Fourth Grade Classics to Keep, Reepicheep tells his shipmates, “My own plans are made. While I can, I sail east in the Dawn Treader. When she fails me, I paddle east in my coracle. When she sinks, I shall swim east with my four paws. And when I can swim no longer, if I have not reached Aslan’s country, or shot over the edge of the world into some vast cataract, I shall sink with my nose to the sunrise.” We show perseverance when, like Reepicheep, rather than giving up in pursuit of a worthy goal, we struggle through to success by maintaining patient effort.

Perseverance is the virtue of not giving up, even when it’s difficult.

At Great Hearts, engaging with our rich and rigorous curriculum requires perseverance from our students on a daily basis. Students are continually asked to read longer and longer books. The amount students are expected to write at one sitting gradually increases as well. In P.E., students must often work hard to sustain their effort, run farther, beat a personal best. Sometimes even a single word problem in Singapore Math may demand much patience, diligence, and perseverance on the part of a scholar. It is good for children to do hard things, and it is good for them to experience natural challenges and setbacks along the way—and overcome them.

Examples of Perseverance from the Great Hearts Curriculum

In First Grade, during their History unit on Ancient Egypt, our students learn that the Great Pyramid at Giza was built with over two million blocks of stone by hundreds of men without the aid of modern machinery.

During the first Persian invasion of Greece, which our Second Grade scholars study, the Greeks faced utter annihilation by the overwhelming Persian army. The story goes that when, against all odds, the Greeks were victorious at the Battle of Marathon, the herald Pheidippides ran the roughly 26 miles from Marathon to Athens to deliver the joyous news and originating the competitive running event in the process.

In Third Grade, students learn about the Spanish explorer Cabeza de Vaca. Following a disastrous attempt to colonize Florida, Cabeza de Vaca finds himself shipwrecked on Galveston Island. Over the next eight years, starting with nothing, Cabeza de Vaca and his companions slowly, laboriously, but relentlessly wend their way across 2,400 miles all the way back to Mexico City.

Core Virtues