Character Notes - Determination

We often see the character trait of Determination as the answer for wanting to give up. As we studied this virtue we begin to see determination affecting our purpose and goal for a task, our focus on a task, as well as our ability to handle difficulties and challenges.

Deciding to finish the right goals at the right time, regardless of the opposition.



Where we applied Determination



Setting Goals

We discussed that goals can’t be vague. I presented an acronym to help us remember how to set SMART goals.

S specific
M measurable
A achievable
R realistic
T time limit to be set


For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible, …. Everything got started in Him and finds its purpose in Him.
Col.1:16 (Msg)


For the older children we discussed some notes I took from a Myles Munroe video.

We get purpose from God – He created us for a purpose

We get conviction from purpose

We get vision from conviction

We get passion from vision

We get inspiration from passion

We live our life with passion

With God we will walk out our purpose.


As the years come closer to where people will ask you (the teenager) what you are going to do with your life, you need to keep these points in mind.


Standing against the crowd

We discussed that for us to have right goals, we maybe the only ones with that goal. We may have to go against our peers, against the flow of society, against tradition. Can we see the right goal, and be determined to live by it?

In order to support our resolve to do the right thing, we looked at various missionaries who stood against cultures and traditions. Eg Lottie Moon in regards to binding the women’s feet in China.


Dealing with Conflict – Things not going my way

When we face difficulties (be it in relationships or with tasks) we have two natural reactions – Fight or Flight. Maybe determination is a third option. We have a choice as to how we deal with difficulties.

Often we see children struggling because things are not going their own way – this is a great opportunity to teach Determination. They have a goal (you could check that it is a right goal) and then they have a choice –

  • are they going to be discouraged and fight (get cross) or
  • are they going to flight (give up> or
  • are they going to choose Determination and finish it – maybe ask for help, maybe try something different, maybe just take a deep breath!

We need to teach our children how to be determined, show them what it looks like, let them choose Determination.


Playing Board/Table Games

This is a great teaching opportunity for younger siblings in the family. Playing board/table games with older siblings always sounds like a good idea, until that is, the younger ones start to loose!

A person who is Determined will deal with this a different way. Help your child to see that they -

  • set their goal before them - to play a game
  • check to see the goals was right - is it an appropriate game to be playing in the first place?
  • ignore distractions – loosing is a big distraction, everything else looks much more attractive
  • not be discourage – loosing is discouraging – choose Fight, Flight, or Determination
  • face problems head on – do they understand the rules? Revisit appropriateness.

Jigsaw puzzles are another such activity that raises the challenge to be Determined.


Going slow at Chore Time

We have a dawdler in our house. We used our studies of Determination to help them move faster.

  1. Discuss what the goal is – do the dishes
  2. Is it a right goal? – since it is chores, yes, it is!
  3. What is distracting you? Define these distractions so that the child can guard against them.
  4. Are you feeling discouraged? Often feelings of things not being fair, or being overwhelmed would assail the child. We would discuss these and give proper perspective.
  5. Is there anything that you don’t understand about the job? Do you need to ask a question? Ask for help? Or just choose Determination?

The above sequence of questions is the outline of our conversation with the dawdler either before started their chores, or when I saw them struggling. They would continue with their chores with renewed focus and vigor!


Learning a new Skills

There are many new skills that our children have to face during their childhood

  • Learning to ride a bike
  • Learning to type
  • Meeting new people
  • Going into a shop by themselves
  • Making a business phone call

There are many more – each time our children are faced with something new they have the opportunity to be Determined


Keeping in Balance with other traits

Courage is closely connected to Determination.


Courage is not letting fear in the way
of doing the right thing.


Discuss Peer Pressure –
  • What makes it difficult to resist these pressures?
  • What can you remember to do next time you feel these pressures?

  • Who do you know who has been Courageous?
  • What made them courageous?

Read more on Courage


There is a connection between Determination and Sensitivity and Flexibility.

We have to ask ourselves, Are we so determined that we find a way regardless of what is in our path – without consideration for other people in particular?


There is also a connection with the virtue of Discernment. We need to be determined to do the best we can – we must keep our eyes on the goals – the big picture of things. We must also learn to guard against distractions, even if they are good ideas distracting us.

I am reminded of a little saying that has come up a lot in our lives as we make decisions – is it a Good idea or a God idea? I want to live my life by God ideas.



Homeschool Desk Opportunities

As we learn about a character trait, such as Determination, we have many opportunities to interact with what we are learning.

  • Copy write SMART as an acronym. Make your own acronym – maybe for the word Goals
  • Learn the song, I have decided to follow Jesus, possibly copy write the words, decorate and make into a notebook page.
  • Take photos of new experiences, and journal their story of determination.
  • Work on Jigsaw puzzles – either as individuals or as a family. Keep the motto don’t give up! going as you determine to finish it! Take a photo of the finished puzzle and keep it in your Character Building Journal.
  • Get the children (or do it as a family) to write down a goal, or two (depending on ages). Go through and test to see if it is a SMART goal or not. Don’t forget to follow up your children’s goals so that they learn that aspect as well.
  • Make a poster: Don’t give up!

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