Perseverance means doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success. Rising up after adversity can be hard sometimes. However, it is an important lesson to learn early on in life. This lesson gives a real-life example of a woman who overcame her physical illness, racism and sexism to achieve personal success. It helps girls understand the importance of perseverance and how to incorporate the character trait into their lives and relationships.
Perseverance is the ability to keep going despite struggles. Often, we believe greatness comes once we reach our goals. After we climb our personal mountains. But when we only focus on the results, we invalidate the time spent preparing for it or the actual climb itself. We invalidate our perseverance.
Perseverance starts in the valley before the mountain. Most people are scared of the valley, but this is where we find the most fertile soil is and where oxygen is thick. Perseverance begins with taking deep breaths, and nourishing ourselves so we can start the climb.
This is the beginning of accomplishing goals and chasing dreams. Perseverance teaches trust in oneself, encourages wise choices, instructs when to rest and when to move. It reminds us of the importance of self-support. The best way to work through just about any struggle is to breathe deeply, ignoring anyone on the sidelines, and own the mountain.
If girls realize their strength and understand what they have overcome, struggles or setbacks suddenly become tiny because they now know the value of perseverance. A girl who knows herself and trusts her abilities, a girl with perseverance, can climb that mountain a hundred times.
Why We Chose Wilma Rudolph
Wilma Rudolph had the grittiest perseverance. We all have something to overcome, something we let hold us back from fully experiencing life. But as a young child, Wilma decided that her lack of ability would not define her—instead, she would defy it.
Every girl needs the lesson of owning a struggle. Every girl needs to know struggles may shape us, but they don’t define us. Oftentimes, girls and women define themselves by something they are not instead of something they are. But Wilma showed us that struggles can be used to fuel a dream. In fact, it is every girl's prerogative to turn every struggle into a story of grace and grit.
Wilma’s story teaches us that accepting things may be difficult at first, but as long as you keep moving, your effort will lead to success. Remember, success comes in all forms—both small and big, quiet and loud and everything in between. Wilma has left a bit of her spirit behind as a reminder that “triumph can’t be had without the struggle,” but the struggle is not what defines us.
Table of Contents
Section 1: Preparatory Reading
Introduction from Heather Stark: Why Wilma Rudolph?
The Journey of Wilma Rudolph's Life
Character Trait: Perseverance
Section 2: Group Activity Guide
Activity Booklet (Reading Section)
Activity Booklet (Question Section) & Biography Workbook
Section 3: Closing Discussion Guide
Closing Discussion Questions