Character Education - Imagine Harrisburg Pike Community School

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Character Education
Lesson:
Commitment
Perseverance
Perseverance Lessons
"Working hard without giving up."
Diligence, Work Ethic, Endurance, Overcoming Failure.
Below you'll find our Lessons on Perseverance. For a student handout, click
HERE. For an overhead sheet, click HERE. Let us know if you have any suggestions we listen!
Hints:
Get feedback from your students. We try to appeal to a variety of races and
youth cultures. By getting feedback from a broad spectrum of your students,
you'll discover which types of illustrations, insights or discussions your students
best respond to.
To print this entire page: Click File/Print/OK
To print portions:
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Option #1 Highlight the portion you want and click File/Print. Under Print
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Option #2 - Copy and paste the section you want into your word
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Note: Some of the illustrations used in these lessons are also used in the Intercom
Insights. The stories from the Intercom Insights are also included in the
Quotes/Stories/Activities section. Many are also used in our lesson plans.
Hang in There!
(Endurance: A Secret to Success)
PURPOSE: By the end of this session, I want my students to realize their need to
endure difficulties and commit themselves to endure in some specific areas of
their lives.
Materials Needed: For object lesson: roll of large paper and tape, a super ball (small,
hard rubber ball) three raw eggs, two Tootsie Rolls (or appropriate prizes). For film clip:
Mission Impossible II.
Introduction
Facilitator Hint: Before looking at
my ideas, think about illustrations
from your own life. Are there hard
knocks or failures that you've had
to endure to get to where you are
now? Remember, students may
respect you for your successes,
but they love you when you're
vulnerable about your failures and
hard times. Our purpose is to
reach students who are
discouraged and close to giving
up. Your own failures and
setbacks can help them identify
with you.
Do you want to succeed in life? How many of
you have written this life goal: "By 30 years of
age I want to be a complete failure?" (Leader: be
prepared for some to raise their hands just to be
funny. The following transition will help you
recover.) Okay, let me clarify a bit. Your idea of
success and my idea of success may not be
exactly the same, but I’ll guarantee you that
there are areas of life in which you’d desperately
like to succeed.
Discussion: Within the next 10 years, what are
some areas of life in which you'd like to have
succeeded? [For bashful classes, you may need
to lead them with questions like, "What's a
vocation you're interested in?" "What success would you like in relationships?"
(successful marriage, satisfying friendships)]
 If relationships are important to you, you’d like to have a successful dating
career and eventually a successful family.
 If skateboarding is important to you, you’d probably rather skateboard like
Tony Hawk than like I skateboard. You'd like to be a successful skater.
 If money is important to you, you’d prefer to have more money than less as
you get older. You’d like to be a financial success.
 If enjoying life is important to you, you’d prefer to have a job that you look
forward to going to in the morning rather than one you dread. You want a
successful career.
But many people are flunking out in life. Now I’m not saying that I’m THE great
example of success, but I’ve lived long enough to see that a lot of people give up
on life when the pathway gets rugged. Many fail simply because they fail to
endure through the hard times. You see, whether you’re talking about the
successful people in business, acting, music, or relationships, the great
misconception is that they were just incredibly talented from the start and got
there by merrily skipping from one success to another.
Today I want to share with you a couple of things I’ve learned about endurance
and use the lives of some famous people you’ve heard about to help you
remember. I’ll get you involved with a video clip and some interaction. I hope it
will be fun and worth your time. You may even want to take some notes on the
handout I gave you.
I. Learn From Life’s Hard Knocks.
HINT: In your preparation, read
People Illustration: Any one who has seen the Star these illustrations until you can tell
Wars series or the Indiana Jones trilogy knows the the story naturally while keeping
incredible excitement that producer George Lucas can regular eye contact with your
pack into a movie. But it’s doubtful that Lucas would audience. If you need notes,
have made anything at all out of his life, had he not first highlight certain main points or key
given up his old dreams. You see, during his teen years, words so that you can keep eye
a lot of people considered him a loser who was going contact with the students. Eye
nowhere in life. He never applied himself in school and contact is critical.
dreamed only about racing cars. But his dreams all
ended just a few days before his graduation. While driving home from the library in his Fiat,
he prepared for a left turn by glancing in his rearview mirror. But as he started the turn, he
heard the sound of another car, a blowing horn, and the impact of speeding Chevy crunching
into the driver side of his car. It should have killed him. The little Fiat turned four or five
complete flips before it wrapped around a solid oak tree. The impact was so great that it
actually moved the entire tree a couple of feet over, leaving a huge hole in its former position.
But miraculously, George survived. Get this: during the Fiat’s third flip, his regulation racing
seat belt snapped, throwing him out of the open top and onto the ground. He was close to
death, but recovered slowly through two weeks in the hospital and months of physical therapy.
His Fiat didn’t survive, ending up in the junkyard.
After the accident, George was a changed person. He decided there must be some reason he
survived, and set his mind to get his act together and make something out of his life. He left
his racing dreams behind and decided to go to college. There, he developed an interest in
literature and writing. And instead of driving racecars, he began filming them. Today, he’s
glad for his decision to let his old life and his old dreams die, so that he could go a new
direction. You see, without giving up his old life, he would have never found his niche in the
film industry, and no one would have ever seen Star Wars. (Facts from Skywalking: The
Life And Times Of George Lucas, by Dale Pollock, Harmony Books, 1983, pp. xiii39. Wording by Steve Miller, found in Reach Out’s Illustration Database at
www6.gospelcom.net/reachout)
For many people, the car wreck would have been nothing more than a tragedy.
But for Lucas, it was a wake up call. You see, some students see only the grief in
their heartaches, whether it be the breakup of their family, their failure in a sport
or a class, or a breakup with a boyfriend. Successful people like Lucas had these
problems too. But the difference between them and people who lose in life is that
the successes learn from their tragedies and setbacks. They become better
people.
Listen, you can become either "bitter" or "better" from tragedies. And the only
difference between these two words is the letter "i". "I" have the choice as to
whether to grow or wither from my tragedies.
II. Bounce Back From Your Failures
To illustrate this point, I want to give you a test. (Options: Use as either handout
or overhead or Powerpoint.) Perhaps use as an overhead or powerpoint as well.)
Look at the back of your student sheet. As I read the statements about each
person (these are all real people), I want you to decide whether you think the
person was a success or failure in his field. Write either the letter "F" for failure,
or "S" for success before each one. (If you copy and paste this into your word
processing program for copying onto paper, you might want to change the font to
something more "youthy," like "Andy".)
SUCCESS OR FAILURE?
____ Politician: Ran for political office seven times and was defeated each time.
____ Cartoonist: All he wanted to do was to sketch cartoons. He applied with a
Kansas City newspaper. The editor said, "It’s easy to see from these sketches
that you have no talent." No studio would give him a job. He ended up doing
publicity work for a church in an old, dilapidated garage.
____ Writer: His first children’s book was rejected by 23 publishers.
____ Inventor: In the first year of marketing his new soft drink, he sold only 400
bottles.
____ Actor: He went to Hollywood as an 18 year old, and after a couple of parts
was unemployed for two years. As he ran out of money, he sold off his sectional
couch, one section at a time, and lived on macaroni. He had no phone. His office
was a phone booth at Pioneer Chicken.
____ Athlete: As a baseball player, he struck out more than any player in the
history of baseball: 1,330 times.
____ Politician: Flunked the sixth grade. As a sixteen-year-old in Paris, a teacher
had written on his report card, "Shows a conspicuous lack of success." He
wished to become a military leader, or a great statesman. As a student, he failed
three times in his exams to enter the British Military Academy.
____ Athlete: As a high school student, he felt so unpopular with the girls that he
thought he might never be able to find a wife. That's why he took a cooking class.
He thought he might never have anyone to cook for him.
The answers to the test? Whether you answered success or failure, you all made
a 100%! Each of these people were both failures and successes.
Let’s look at these people, one by one.
Would you have given up on politics if you had been
HINT: By getting some
defeated 7 times in your run for political office? Any
interaction, you keep students
guesses as to who it was? I’m glad that Abraham
involved. Allow several to guess
Lincoln didn’t give up. He was defeated for legislature, on each one. They like to be
defeated for speaker, defeated for nomination to
involved.
Congress, defeated for Senate, defeated for nomination
to Vice Presidency, defeated again for Senate. Yet he hung in there and succeeded in
becoming the 16th, and one of the most respected, presidents of the United States.
And what about the cartoonist whom no one would hire? The one who was told that he had no
talent? The old garage he worked in was in such bad shape that it had mice. One day, he
sketched one of those mice. Any guesses as to the name of that mouse? The mouse one day
became famous as "Mickey Mouse." The artist, of course, was Walt Disney.
The writer whose children’s book was rejected by 23 publishers? Take a wild guess…. Dr.
Seuss. By the way, the 24th publisher sold six million copies.
The soft drink that sold only 400 bottles its first year? Coca Cola.
The 18-year-old actor who couldn’t land a part for two years and lived off macaroni? He
finally got a part with a popular, long-running show called "Family Ties." I’m glad he didn’t
give up. Can you imagine "Back to the Future" without Michael J. Fox?
The baseball player who held the strike-out record? He also held, for many years, the home
run record. His name is Babe Ruth.
The student who showed a "conspicuous lack of success" on his report card? Who failed three
times to enter the British Military Academy? Many of us would have given up after one
rejection. But Winston Churchill stubbornly refused to accept defeat and became one of the
greatest men of the 20th Century. Though he was rejected many times by the voters of Great
Britain, he finally became the Prime Minister, standing between Hitler and the free world.
The athlete who was so unpopular with the girls that he took a cooking class in case he never
found a wife? The one who was cut from the Varsity team his sophomore year? The cut may
have been the best thing that ever happened to him. Angry and embarrassed, he began to get
up early each morning to practice with the Junior Varsity coach. Eventually he not only made
the Varsity team, but became the most popular athlete in the world: Michael Jordan. (Sports
Illustrated, Kids Edition, Aug/Sept, 1998)
Illustration or Object Lesson: When I reflect
Object Lesson: Since object
on these people who refused to let their
lessons involve more senses than
failures make them quit, I think of the
a verbal illustration, I like to
difference between a super ball and a raw
choose a relevant object lesson. It
egg. (A super ball is one of those very hard
won't soon be forgotten.
rubber balls that bounce so high.) If you take Materials Needed:
a super ball and throw it against the wall, what
 Roll of large paper
happens to it? (It bounces back.) What
 Tape
happens the harder you throw it against the
 Three "super balls" (check
wall? (The faster it bounces back.) What
especially gumball
happens to a raw egg when you throw it
machines outside Walmart)
against a wall? (It splatters.) What happens
 Three raw eggs
the harder you throw it against the wall? (The
 Two Tootsie Rolls (or other
worse it splatters.)
prize)
This defines two types of people: raw egg
Tape a very large section of paper
people and super ball people. When raw egg
to the wall. Put another large
people hit an obstacle, they splatter. The
paper on the floor to catch the
harder they hit, the harder they splatter,
broken egg. Draw a set of
giving up on their goal. When super ball
concentric circles on the wall
people hit an obstacle, they bounce back. The
paper, making a target. Without
harder they hit, the harder they bounce back.
explaining the point of the
Discussion in Small Groups: The people we
illustration, get six volunteers. The
just talked about were super ball people. With
first three take the super ball and
every failure, they kept bouncing back. Get
throw it at the target, trying to get
with a couple of people around you and
the closest to the center. Give the
discuss this question. Why do you think they
prize to the winner. The second
kept bouncing back, whereas many people
three throw the raw eggs. Give the
would have given up? (Allow a few minutes)
prize to the winner. Then, proceed
Now, share with the class your thoughts.
to explain the object lesson as I
(Answers may include: #1 - Their goals were
have it written out to the left.
extremely important to them. Some of our
(NOTE: Inevitably, an attention
goals aren't really that important to us, so we
seeker may throw the egg outside
give up easily. #2 - They may have had
of the paper on purpose, acting
tenacious, stubborn personalities. #3 like it was a mistake. Don't let it
Perhaps they had enough successes in their
frazzle you! Calmly reassure him
lives to balance out their failures. #4 - They
that not everyone has good aim
believed in themselves in spite of their
and assign him clean-up duty.)
failures.)
I want to leave this discussion emphasizing that their goals were extremely
important to them. Do have some goals that are worth enduring for?
Endurance - you’ll never be successful without it. Do some of you feel the need
for more of it in your own life? Perhaps academic work doesn’t come easy for
you. Perhaps your home life is in shambles and beneath your cool expression
you’re wondering if you’ll ever make it in life. I want to end with one more
illustration.
I can’t make it through the grocery store line these days without noticing Tom
Cruise staring at me from a magazine cover. How many of you saw him play
Ethan Hunt in Mission Impossible or one of his many other movies? His
accomplishments are pretty incredible. At 37 years of age (in year 2000), he has
starred in blockbuster after blockbuster, is one of the highest paid actors in
Hollywood, has been recognized for his achievements in acting by a Golden
Globe award and an Oscar nomination, and has the physical agility (and guts) to
perform 95% of the stunts in Mission Impossible II, including dangling off that
cliff at the beginning of the movie. It’s easy to look at Cruise and assume that he
probably always had everything going for him. He must have been very
successful in high school and popular with the girls. Think again. His life is
actually the story of a survivor who learned to turn his shortcomings into assets.
Do any of you struggle with family problems?
IDEA! Show a clip from Mission
Tom’s dad was consumed with his work and
Impossible II on video. The wild
finally abandoned the family when Tom was 12. rock climb at the beginning
Some of you know the gut-wrenching feelings
might be a great attentionhe must have suffered through in middle school. getter! The point is to show
Do you ever struggle with financial problems?
Tom Cruise as cool, which lets
Tom couldn’t afford some of the things other
other troubled kids realize that
kids had because his dad refused to pay child
even though they feel geeky
support for his four children. He and his sisters now, there's hope for them if
had to work to contribute to the family income. they can endure.
They sometimes survived on food stamps.
Do you ever struggle with social problems? His social life was disrupted regularly
by moves that forced him to change schools an average of once a year (8
elementary and three high schools). Lots of kids made fun of him. He was always
the new geek, never the cool guy that girls flocked to. Lots of kids made fun of
him.
Do any of you ever feel dumb? As if Tom didn’t have enough problems to deal
with, he was always in remedial classes for slow learners. He was later found to
have a learning disorder called Dyslexia, which makes it incredibly difficult to
learn skills like reading. Not knowing what was wrong, he just thought he was
dumb and would often come home crying. With dyslexics, their brains often tell
them that things are backwards. He couldn’t even distinguish his right hand from
his left.
Do you often fail at sports? Concluding that academics weren’t his forte, he
plunged into athletics. He played football but was too small to excel. Wrestling,
however, is divided into weight classes, giving him the opportunity to compete.
But when running some stairs (trying to lose a pound to compete in his weight
class) he slipped on some papers his sister had left and tore a tendon on his leg.
So much for athletics. Unable to wrestle on the team, he tried out for a part in
their high school play. He landed a starring role and fell in love with acting. A
theater agent just happened to be in the audience the night of the performance
and encouraged him to go into acting. The rest is history.
I’d like for you to reflect for a moment on Tom’s life. It would have been so easy
for him to grow bitter, conclude that life sucks and hate all the people around
him. But instead, he learned from his shortcomings. He draws from the heartache
he experienced as a child to express emotion when he acts. He learned to work
harder than others by having to learn with a disability. He says that his school
difficulties were a character course that made him a better person. As a result, he
goes the extra mile for his producers and has the people skills that make people
love to work with him. (Sources: 1 – "Cruise Control" (excerpt from 'Cruise')(
Cosmopolitan ) Frank Sanello; 12-01-1995; 2 – "Man With a Mission," ( The Calgary Sun )
Lisa Wilton, Calgary Sun, 05-21-2000; 3 - "Conversations With Cruise," Vanity Fair, June,
2000; Tom Cruise, by Phelan Powell, Chelsea House Publishers, 1999)
Action Points
On the bottom of your student sheet, you’ll find a place for "Action Points." The
point of these character sessions is not head knowledge, but life change. I urge
you to write down a couple of areas of your life in which you feel that you have
need of endurance. It may be a class that you just don’t get. Write down that
you’ll make an appointment with a counselor or your teacher to try to make your
way through it. Maybe it’s a family problem that you came in this morning ready
to give up on, but now you think you should hang in there. I’ll give you a few
moments of quite to reflect and write.
Conclusion
There are two things I want you to come out of this session with:
1) Don’t be discouraged by your failures. Remember, the road to success is
paved with failures.
2) In order to succeed in life, you’ve got to endure.
I’ll leave you with the words of Winston Churchill, the one who had written on his
report card, "shows a conspicuous lack of success," the one who failed the test
three times to enter the British military academy, but the one who became one of
the greatest men of the 20th century. One day he was invited back to his old
school to give the commencement address. This great, eloquent man stood
before them and said simply this:
"Never give up. Never give up. Never, never,
HINT: Say these three
never give up."
sentences slowly, deliberately.
And then he sat down. Thank you. (If you're a
Look at your students in their
guest speaker, go sit down.)
eyes. This is your final
(Copyright August, 2000, by Legacy Educational
challenge to them.
Resources. All rights reserved. Copies can be made
within your own class (individual subscription) or school (school subscription) or system
(school system subscription) free of charge. Not for resale.)
Hang in There!
(Endurance: A Secret to Success)
Student Handout
I. Learn From Life’s ______ _________.
II. Bounce Back From Your __________.
SUCCESS OR FAILURE?
____ Politician: Ran for political office seven times and was defeated each time.
____ Cartoonist: All he wanted to do was to sketch cartoons. He applied with a
Kansas City newspaper. The editor said, "It’s easy to see from these sketches
that you have no talent." No studio would give him a job. He ended up doing
publicity work for a church in an old, dilapidated garage.
____ Writer: His first children’s book was rejected by 23 publishers.
____ Inventor: In the first year of marketing his new soft drink, he sold only 400
bottles.
____ Actor: He went to Hollywood as an 18 year old, and after a couple of parts
was unemployed for two years. As he ran out of money, he sold off his sectional
couch, one section at a time, and lived on macaroni. He had no phone. His office
was a phone booth at Pioneer Chicken.
____ Athlete: As a baseball player, he struck out more than any player in the
history of baseball: 1,330 times.
____ Politician: Flunked the sixth grade. As a sixteen-year-old in Paris, a teacher
had written on his report card, "Shows a conspicuous lack of success." He
wished to become a military leader, or a great statesman. As a student, he failed
three times in his exams to enter the British Military Academy.
____ Athlete: As a high school student, he felt so unpopular with the girls that he
thought he might never be able to find a wife. That's why he took a cooking class.
He thought he might never have anyone to cook for him.
Conclusion
1) Don’t be discouraged by your failures. Remember, the road to success is
paved with failures.
2) In order to succeed in life, you’ve got to endure.
"Never give up. Never give up. Never, never, never give up." (Winston Churchill)
Hang in There!
(Endurance: A Secret to Success)
Overhead
I. Learn From Life’s Hard Knocks.
II. Bounce Back From Your Failures
SUCCESS OR FAILURE?
____ Politician: Ran for political office seven times and was defeated each time.
____ Cartoonist: All he wanted to do was to sketch cartoons. He applied with a
Kansas City newspaper. The editor said, "It’s easy to see from these sketches
that you have no talent." No studio would give him a job. He ended up doing
publicity work for a church in an old, dilapidated garage.
____ Writer: His first children’s book was rejected by 23 publishers.
____ Inventor: In the first year of marketing his new soft drink, he sold only 400
bottles.
____ Actor: He went to Hollywood as an 18 year old, and after a couple of parts
was unemployed for two years. As he ran out of money, he sold off his sectional
couch, one section at a time, and lived on macaroni. He had no phone. His office
was a phone booth at Pioneer Chicken.
____ Athlete: As a baseball player, he struck out more than any player in the
history of baseball: 1,330 times.
____ Politician: Flunked the sixth grade. As a sixteen-year-old in Paris, a teacher
had written on his report card, "Shows a conspicuous lack of success." He
wished to become a military leader, or a great statesman. As a student, he failed
three times in his exams to enter the British Military Academy.
____ Athlete: As a high school student, he felt so unpopular with the girls that he
thought he might never be able to find a wife. That's why he took a cooking class.
He thought he might never have anyone to cook for him.
Conclusion
1) Don’t be discouraged by your failures. Remember, the road to success is
paved with failures.
2) In order to succeed in life, you’ve got to endure.
"Never give up. Never give up. Never, never, never give up." (Winston Churchill)
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