As students join the group time, set up a table in a corner with some sort of puzzle-type stacking game. There are many popular commercial games made with blocks where each person or teammate places a piece and then as the tower grows, one person or team’s mistake or misplacement will cause the tower to crash. (If you do not have access to a game like this, building a “house” with a deck of cards, stacking match sticks, children’s blocks or interlocking toys are adequate game substitutes.) Have all students take part in the stacking activity at the beginning of class. It is useful for getting across today’s message of perseverance.
After students have played the stacking game a few times with some success as well as obvious failure, regroup.
- What did this game teach you? (Answers will vary such as team work, cooperation, patience, endurance, etc. If no one mentions perseverance, mention it and ask students for a definition of this term.)
Merriam Webster’s definition of perseverance is this: continued effort to do or achieve something despite difficulties, failure, or opposition: the action or condition or an instance of persevering: steadfastness.
High school athlete Cheyenne Shirley suffered a major injury to her knee last year. This injury prevented her from competing in spring sports—and made it uncertain whether or not she’d recover in time to complete her dream of finishing out her time in high school by competing in sports. It would have been easy for this injury to make Cheyenne decide never to play sports again for fear of further pain or injury. Let’s see where she is now.
Play the following video for your students [2:45].
South Sumter’s Cheyenne Shirley overcomes severe injury, takes on AP courses and 3 sports
Discuss the following questions related to the video as a large group.
- How do you think Cheyenne was able to overcome a major injury in order to achieve her dream of competing in senior year sports? (Answers will vary. Invite various students to share. Note that many people, even professional athletes, would not have been able to recover in time if at all. Students may mention determination, perseverance, and a strong desire to do what she loved.)
The fact that Cheyenne is once again able to compete in sports less than a year after a major injury is impressive. Perseverance played an important part in her recovery. People don’t overcome injuries of this magnitude without a great deal of physical therapy coupled with pain.
Today we’re going to talk about another man who persevered during times of famine and drought and followed God’s plan for his family and for Israel.