Dr. Rich Patterson

Kids and Determination

Recently I spoke to a sizeable middle school about Determination.  Kids and determination should be discussed with them.  I asked myself several questions: 1) From where did it come? 2) How do I use it in my life?  3) Why is it important?  Determination can be defined.  It is to understand the challenge and know your purpose.  To align in the most profound sense with your goal and thus develop the passion for reaching that goal.

I recently heard a speaker talk about the Bamboo plant. It starts like most plants as a tiny seed planted in the earth.  It sits in a dark environment surrounded by dirt with nearly no sunlight.  It sits there for four years without doing anything.  Nothing at all happens.  Most of us would likely throw the plant out and declare it dead because nothing happened.  But deep on the earth, a lot is happening.  It is developing the structural root system that will support its tremendous growth.  The plant can grow from 0 – 80 feet in the fifth year.

Bamboo is among the fastest-growing plants in the world. Suppose it can grow 36″ in 24 hours.  As the most prominent member of the grass family, this is amazing.

What am I saying?  I want us to think about when we’re doing the right things when we’re struggling to make good choices and live a good life, but nothing seems to be happening.  We think we’re going back because we cannot see those roots, the developed character traits.  When I think about that seed sitting there for four years with nothing happening, I believe it lays a foundation.  If the plant will grow to 80 feet in a year, the roots better be deep.

It is the same in our lives; the little day-to-day things that we do, like showing up on time and doing as asked.  Giving our best effort, being kind, and believing, regardless of our circumstances, all contribute to developing our root system and producing determination.

You see, your secret weapon is your belief—your Determination.  That is where your passion comes from, which will make things happen for you in your life.  There is no dream too big–only dreamers who quit dreaming.  If you quit or throw the plant out before the fifth year, you give up, then all the magic stops.  All the energy around making this happen ceases, and quickly the dream fizzles.  Perseverance and Determination take you forward.

Take yourself to the 5th year, even if you’re not there yet.  Think about how it will just take off one day.  This image will help to accelerate your plan, shift the expectancy to making it happen.  More on this topic later, but I hope this inspires you to be patient and know that things happen when you’re young; even though it seems to take a long time, it looks like things aren’t happening, and believe that your 5th year is coming.

Three other qualities sit alongside Determination.  Read about the other three here, The Magic Four: Determination – Dr. Rich Patterson (

Read a fun article about Teaching Determination in Children, Teaching Determination in Children – Kids Village.

A big part of teaching kids Determination includes What to Say When they want to give up.  Here is a post for you, Determination: What to Say When Your Kids Feel Like Giving Up | Minno Kids (



Yours for Better Parenting,