Determination - MetroFamily Magazine
MetroFamily Magazine

Where OKC parents find fun & resources


by Gayleen Rabakukk

Reading Time: 3 minutes 

Most of the things we hope to accomplish in life require hard work and focus. Whether it’s learning to read, succeeding in geometry, or mastering a golf swing, determination keeps us moving toward our goal until we reach it.

Sometimes learning to recognize the right goal at the right time is challenging. There are countless measures of success in today’s society. But, if we stop to ask ourselves what our motive is, we can be sure we are aiming for the right target.

Setting both short-term and long-term goals can help us stay focused on the big picture. At first, a long-term goal might seem far beyond our reach, but there are ways to make it more manageable. Break it down into steps and ask, "What one thing can I do today that will move me closer to my goal?" When that single task is complete, we have a feeling of accomplishment that keeps us motivated.

In Nature
King salmon hatch in the freshwater rivers of the Pacific Northwest. The young fish, called fry, stay in the hatching area about a year before making their way downstream to the Pacific Ocean. This journey to the ocean follows the current of the river so the young fish can let the river carry them. When they reach the ocean, the salmon spend several years eating and growing larger. Most salmon are about 34" long and weigh about 30 pounds, but some have been known to be as long as 58" and weigh as much as 130 pounds.

When salmon reach adulthood (at about age four), they develop an unstoppable drive to return to their native river and the place where they were hatched. This means the fish must swim upstream, against the flow of the river. The salmon’s journey through the ocean and up the river requires enormous determination. When the salmon reaches its native stream bed, it finds a nesting site and lays eggs to produce the next generation.

Teachable Moments
Take time to talk about goals as a family. Each family member will have personal goals; in addition, there may be a family goal that everyone can work toward. Think about both long-term and short-term goals and how they can work together. If you approach goal setting as a way to reach your dreams, it can be fun and empowering.

Enthusiasm, flexibility, discernment, cautiousness, humility, contentment, security, dependability, and thouroughness are character qualities that have appeared in MetroFamily Magazine this year and you will find each on our website. As a family, talk about each trait. If your children are old enough, have them make two lists—one list of the traits they use regularly and another of the traits they would like to develop. Then discuss how each of the traits could be used in accomplishing the goals they’ve set.

I Will Statements:

  • I will set goals.
  • I will make sure my goals are right.
  • I will ignore distractions.
  • I will not be discouraged by others.
  • I will face problems head-on.

Read About Determination

  • The Best Beekeeper of Lalibela: A Tale From Africa by Cristina Kessler is the story of a young girl who decides she wants to have the best honey in the land. Her determination helps her overcome obstacles and meet the goal.
  • Reaching Your Goals by Robin Silverman is aimed at middle school students and contains anecdotes from teens. But the step-by-step process of goal setting and accomplishment holds true for everyone. It’s a good book to read and talk about with your teen.

Putting Character First
The Character First! Project is inspired by the work of the Character Training Institute, a non-profit organization based in Oklahoma City. Character First! information is used by permission. Call 405-815-0001 for Character First! resources or visit

Gayleen Rabakukk is a freelance writer who spends her time in Edmond keeping up with her teenage and preschool daughters. She holds a BA in journalism from the University of Central Oklahoma and is a regular contributor to MetroFamily Magazine.

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