Persistence is defined as continuing at something even in the face of difficulty or hardship. It is a great quality for kids to learn and emulate. In the classic tale of Hansel and Gretel, we see a great example of persistence on the part of Hansel and Gretel. Because of their bravery and persistence they were able to get away from the witch on their own even though they’re just kids. Use this story as a starting point to a discussion about persistence with your child or students.
Hansel and Gretel first tried to get out out of the clutches of the witch by deceiving her. By holding a bone out instead of his finger, Hansel made the witch, who had bad eyesight, think that he was very thin and therefore not worth eating. He continued this for several days, until one day the witch decided to just eat him anyway.
But then Gretel volunteered to help the witch get things ready. She was persistent. Instead of feeling defeated that their plan to trick the witch had not worked, she decided to try something else. Once she was out of the cage, she took the opportunity to challenge the witch by telling her Hansel wouldn’t fit inside the oven. In doing so, she got the witch to get close to the oven so Gretel could push her inside.
Gretel could have easily thought to herself that the witch was much bigger than her and that it wouldn’t be worth it to try pushing her, but she didn’t. She also could have looked at the kids’ two previous problem situations…being lost in the woods only to get into more trouble at the witch’s house and the fact that their plan to convince the witch that Hansel was thin didn’t work….and could have felt discouraged. However, she didn’t let those things deter her from trying again. That is persistence.
Ask your child or student to think of what may have happened had Hansel and Gretel not been persistent. Would the outcome of there story have been any different if at the end they decided to give up? Now ask if they can think of any realistic situations they might go through in life in which persistence on their part can help them get far. Some examples would be persistence in trying to do well in a sport, or persistence in studying for a hard exam.