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Keeping going

To teach the value of perseverance and the giving of one's best.

by Janice Ross

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To teach the value of perseverance and the giving of one’s best.

Preparation and materials

You will need an image of Shanaze Reade and Chris Hoy. Go to Google Images, type in 'Shanaze Reade' and use the second image (from the Daily Mail) of Shanaze and Chris Hoy.


  1. Well, we’ve now been back to school for about XX weeks (or X months). We have all got used to the excitement of a new room, a new teacher, a new seating arrangement, new jotters, a fresh start. Now we might be thinking that the work is all becoming a little heavy going. November time can be a bit like that. It is beginning to get dark and a bit gloomy outside too!
  2. We try so hard on our first days back at school after the summer holidays. We write as neatly as possible in our new books, we keep our trays as tidy as possible, we try to take time with our homework. Teachers do the same. We are all enthusiastic and bright. But then we get tired and dull. It can sometimes be hard to keep going with the daily slog of maths and spelling.
  3. Show the photo of teenager Shanaze Reade with Chris Hoy and ask the children if they can identify her sport. She became hooked on BMX racing at 10 years of age and bought her first BMX bike for £1. She won her first European title one year later.

    Shanaze had the privilege of going to Beijing to compete in the recent Olympics. Olympic cycling champion Chris Hoy said: ‘If I was going to put my mortgage on anyone winning the gold medal, it would be Shanaze.’

    In the race she was going extremely well but was behind another cyclist. She could have stayed there and probably won a silver medal, but she didn’t. She did something very risky. She attempted to overtake the leader, caught her wheel and crashed out on the final bend. As a result she got no Olympic medal at all.

    Interviewed later, Shanaze Reade said: ‘I don’t train and train as hard as I’ve done for a silver medal. It’s all about the gold or nothing.’

    Ask a few children what they would have done in her place.
  4. Most people face difficulties and hard times, some more than others. It is necessary to press through them to achieve something worthwhile. Our parents won’t always feel like going out to work, Mum won’t always feel like starting on the pile of ironing again, and even head teachers may have Monday mornings when they feel like staying in bed!
  5. In the Bible the apostle Paul, who was the first man to be given the job by God of taking his message of love to the non-Jewish world, said this: ‘I press on towards the goal.’

    He was an amazing example of someone who kept going. He had been beaten, imprisoned, shipwrecked. He had faced all kinds of dangers, had known hunger, thirst and exhaustion. But he looked on this life as being short and he was going to make the most of it for God. And Paul certainly did! He travelled all over Europe preaching the good news about Jesus. We might never have heard about Jesus if it hadn’t been for Paul.

Time for reflection


What task is before you today that requires some extra effort?
You have a choice to do it, or to do it well.
Like Shanaze Reade and Paul and many others like them, ‘Give it the best you can today!’


Dear God,
Some days are darker than others.

Sometimes the weather is darker.

Sometimes my mood is darker.

Sometimes the things that are going on in my life make everything seem darker and more difficult.

Help me to rise above my feelings and my circumstances and not to waste this day.
Help me to give it the best I can today.



‘He who would valiant be’ (Come and Praise, 44)

Publication date: November 2008   (Vol.10 No.11)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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