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Perseverance is a crucial character trait for students

Over the last couple of months, I’ve addressed the issue of communication and our need to discuss issues that can help improve our schools and the experience for our children. Another critical skill or trait I’d like to address is one that seems to be on the decline in our society, that of perseverance.

As human beings, we find ourselves looking more and more for instant gratification. If a task is challenging, we often abandon it. If something doesn’t work out just as we expect, it is certainly easier to direct our efforts elsewhere. I often wonder what would’ve happened if Orville and Wilbur Wright, Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, George Washington or Abraham Lincoln had taken this approach. We would live in a very different world and certainly a very different country if it weren’t for the perseverance of these great Americans.

Today, we find our children following in these patterns of instant gratification more and more. When a class becomes difficult, they immediately want to drop it. When the challenge in a sport becomes great or membership in a club becomes difficult, students sometimes look to quit instead of problem solving. I worry about the message that such actions create. How will this transfer to life? What will they think when a project on the job becomes overwhelming or a relationship requires work? Will they push through or will they give up?

I encourage parents to support their kids through demanding tasks. When your children encounter struggles, help them find alternatives to quitting. If the course work becomes tough, encourage them to seek help from a teacher. When they’ve committed to a project or an activity, help them find a way to honor their commitments. Don’t allow the first solution be to walk away. Also, it’s important that we as adults look at what messages we model. It’s tough being a parent. “Do as I say, not as I do” doesn’t really work!

I’ve often reflected on the lack of civil discourse and the rush to judgment our society engages in. Add to that a rise in quitting, and we have the antithesis of what made our community, our state and our nation the great places they are today. If we are to raise a generation that will keep the principles of showing respect, fulfilling our responsibilities and persevering through tough times, we as a community must reflect on our own behaviors.


On a different note, I want to thank the many parents who attended our first “Coffee with the Superintendent.” The conversation was rich, and parents not only had a chance to dialogue with my team and me, they also learned so much from each other.

We will hold another event from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. Nov. 1 at the Durango Public Library, 1900 East Third Ave. Again, we’ll provide coffee and water. We hope to catch many of you on your lunch hour. Bring your lunch and share your thoughts, concerns and ideas about how to make this school district an even greater place for kids.

Email Durango School District 9-R Superintendent Dan Snowberger at dsnowberger@durango.k12.co.us.