Perseverance is important
by Alison Thurlow
Suitable for Whole School (Pri)
To consider the importance of persevering, even when the going gets tough.
Preparation and materials
Have available the YouTube video, ‘Derek Redmond’s emotional Olympic story’ (available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t2G8KVzTwfw) and the means to show it during the assembly. It is 2:35 minutes long.
You will need a picture of Derek Redmond, available at: http://tinyurl.com/hsddeww
Optional: you may wish to produce a PowerPoint presentation that shows the definitions and questions given in this assembly outline.
Today, we are going to be thinking about perseverance. Does anyone know what the word ‘perseverance’ means?
Listen to a range of answers.
The dictionary definition of ‘perseverance’ is: ‘continuing to try to achieve a particular aim despite difficulties’.
To put it another way: ‘keeping going, even if the going gets tough’.
Whether we are in school or at home, or just during life in general, we will all have times when things are difficult for us. In situations like these, it can be hard to keep trying – we need perseverance.
Explain that you are going to tell the children about three situations that they could find themselves in. After each one, you would like them to think about why they would need perseverance to deal with the situation. You may wish to ask the children to discuss their ideas with the person next to them.
Listen to a range of answers after each situation is described.
- Situation 1: It is sports day and you are happy that you are in a relay team. However, you know that people in the other teams can run faster than you. Why would you need perseverance? (Answer: You should persevere and keep running because you are part of the team.)
- Situation 2: You find reading very difficult and you want to give up. Why would you need perseverance? (Answer: You should persevere and keep trying so that you continue to get better; being able to read will help you in the future.)
- Situation 3: Your best friend seems grumpy and you are getting impatient with them as you just want to go and play! Why would you need perseverance? (Answer: You should persevere with the friendship because your friend might be unwell or sad about something. Friendships are worth fighting for.)
The Olympic Games is an event that celebrates the perseverance and dedication of athletes who have spent many years training for their event. In 1992, an athlete called Derek Redmond was expected to gain a medal in the 400-metre race, but unfortunately something prevented him.
Show the picture of Derek Redmond.
Derek Redmond was born in Bletchley in 1965 and started running at the age of seven. He was very gifted and went on to win many prizes locally, nationally and internationally. However, life was not always easy for him. Derek suffered many injuries and had 13 operations on his Achilles tendon and knees, meaning that he had to pull out of several competitions.
Despite these difficulties, Derek didn’t give up. He won many medals and broke several records. However, it is not actually ‘winning’ that Derek is most famous for: it is perseverance!
During the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, Derek won the quarter-final race of the 400m and was ahead in the semi-final race when suddenly his hamstring snapped and he fell to the ground in pain. As stretcher-bearers made their way across the track, Derek decided that he wanted to finish the race. He stood up and began to hobble towards the finishing line. He was soon joined on the track by his father, Jim Redmond, who barged past security guards and onto the track to get to his son.
Together, Jim and Derek completed the lap of the track, with Derek leaning on his father’s shoulder for support. As they crossed the finish line, the crowd of 65,000 spectators rose to their feet to give Derek a standing ovation. Derek Redmond may not have won any medals that day, but he showed great perseverance by keeping going, even when the going got extremely tough.
Show the YouTube video, ‘Derek Redmond’s emotional Olympic story’.
Time for reflection
We may not be taking part in the Olympic Games, but we all face situations where we need perseverance.
A man called Paul, who wrote several of the letters in the New Testament part of the Bible, had several things to say about perseverance. Here are just two of them:
‘I press on towards the goal.’ (Philippians 3.14)
Perhaps some of us need to keep on persevering until we have achieved our goals for this year.
‘Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest, if we do not give up.’ (Galatians 6.9)
Perhaps we need encouragement to keep doing good and kind things for others, even if they don’t always seem to appreciate our actions!
The famous scientist, Albert Einstein, once said, ‘It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.’
Pause to think about these words.
Thank you for the encouraging example of Derek Redmond.
Please help us to persevere and to keep going when things get tough.
Please help us to be there to support other people as they persevere in life.
‘I can do all things’ by Jim Bailey (Kids Praise, Spring Harvest)