Help Your Family Develop Determination - MetroFamily Magazine
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Help Your Family Develop Determination

by Sarah Holmes

Reading Time: 2 minutes 

Sometimes I think that my New Year’s Resolutions should be called “over-commitments and under-achievements.” Instead of reaching my resolutions with determination, I tend to be very easily distracted or discouraged from my grand plans to completely change my life.

My cleaning schedule is immaculate, but my house is not. My fitness program is tight, but my waistline is not. My meal plans are amazing, but my dinners are not. Determination means working through troubles to reach your goals. Determination requires making goals as well as sticking to them. So not only do I need to scale down and pick only a couple of measurable and attainable goals, but I also need to change my mindset. This year I resolve to be a better example to my children by carrying out my resolutions more resolutely.

Help Your Family Develop Determination

Family Traditions: Decide together what family traditions you want to have this year. Ideas might include “Dates with Dad or Mom” for your kids, monthly “Family Fun Nights,” or “Sunday Night Ice Cream Sundaes.” Mark it on the calendar and make it a priority. Ask all family members to participate in choosing your traditions.

Game/Activity: Try the “Overcoming Obstacles” game. Make an obstacle course using things you have at home (cones, jump ropes, hula hoops) or use the local playground. As your kids run the course, talk to them about how the path of life is full of obstacles—difficulties and distractions that can discourage us from reaching our goals. Make sure those who complete their “goal” get rewarded for their determination.

Stories that Teach Determination: Check your local library or book store for these titles:

  • The Little Engine that Could by Watty Piper,
  • Horton Hatches an Egg & Horton Hears a Who by Dr. Seuss,
  • The Little Hero of Holland by Etta and Mary Blaisdell,
  • Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan
  • The Little Red Hen, author unknown.

Object Lesson: Play “Determined Dominoes.” Use this lesson to help your kids understand that part of reaching your goal involves completing smaller steps along the way. Set several dominoes up in a row with a few missing in the middle. Push over the first domino. Part of the row will fall and then they will stop because of the missing ones. Explain to your kids how each step is important in reaching your goal, and to try again if the goal is not met. Fill in the missing dominoes, and try it again.

“I will” statements: Encourage determination in your home by committing to the following statements. Say these “I will” statements aloud with your children, and encourage them to apply them to situations in their everyday life. I will:

  • Set goals
  • Make sure my goals are right
  • Ignore distractions
  • Not be discouraged by others
  • Face problems head-on.

Sarah Holmes lives in Norman and is the founder of Wildflowers Character Resources. Find more at The “I Will” statements are provided courtesy of Character First (

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