Here is what 13-year-old Emma said about perseverance. Last time, this karate student talked about sincerity.

J: How do you explain Dojo Kun number three?

E: To grow or create more perseverance is: constantly get better at not giving up.

J: Okay.

E: A will for striving is important too. My nana says, “Where there is a will there is a way.”

J: Does that help you grow perseverance?

E: Absolutely. With willpower, you can do just about anything. First you have to think you can. Then put it into action, and don’t give up. Chances are, you’ll succeed.

J: Have you seen that work?

E: I have. With perseverance I always think of Thomas Edison creating the first practical light bulb.


J: What do you mean?

E: Edison carried on a legacy of trying to make light bulbs that we could actually use.

J: What?

E: People had invented a few different light bulbs decades before him. Problem was, they were too bright and they burned out very quickly.

J: Really?

E: He built on their work. But that doesn’t mean he had it easy.

J: What did he have to do?

E: Edison and his associates tried THOUSANDS of times to make a usable light bulb, until they finally got one that they patented.

J: That is perseverance.

E: But even after that, they tried out thousands of more materials for the filament until they found bamboo, which would burn for 1,200 hours. They had succeeded with the light bulb. Then they worked on getting electricity out so people could use their new, safe lighting. I’ll get you a link on Edison.


J: How has perseverance helped you personally?

E: It started helping me when I just started karate and had just learned the Dojo Kun.

J: Will you tell us about it?

E: I learned to use perseverance with Lily. She was new to school and shy, until she had a swim party and invited the whole class.

J: That sounds nice.

E: Yes, most of the class went. But at her party, Lily was bossy. Even to her parents.

J: How was she bossy?

E: She said who could use what swim toy, and told some people they couldn’t use this floating turtle. And she was the only one allowed to touch her remote control shark. She’s an only child.

J: That might explain it.

E: After that, only one or two girls would hang out with her at school. When she had another pool party, I didn’t really feel like going. But I went, because I once had a party where only one kid showed up, and that’s a bummer.


J: Was it the same thing again?

E: Almost. Only three girls showed up. Lily was still bossy.

J: What did you do?

E: I thought about how I could use the Dojo Kun. Lily was nice at school. We liked a lot of the same things. I decided I wouldn’t give up on being her friend. But she had to use respect.

J: You used Dojo Kun number three?

E: Yes. First, I decided not to give up on Lily so easily like most of the other kids. Then, when I saw a chance to be truthful, I took it.

J: How did that go?

E: Not so good. I told her she should share the shark, or not have it out at the party. Lily refused to share and kept using it. I told her that was lame; she should share with her friends. She didn’t care, so I went home early.

J: Did her parents know why?

E: Yes, everybody knew what was up.


J: Sorry, Emma, but I don’t see the perseverance here.

E: I’m getting there. Just because I bailed on her party, doesn’t mean I wrote her off. At school that week, I was nice to Lily and sat down to eat lunch with her a couple times. She was surprised. I said I wanted to be her friend, but she should show more respect.

J: Did she? Learn to be a better friend?

E: Yes. Nobody’s perfect. I still call her on things. And sometimes Lily tells me I’m being bossy about how to be a better friend. And I am! But I persevere, I keep on trying to be her friend and so far she has kept on trying to be mine.

J: Sounds like you have a lot of patience.

E: It’s from following the Dojo Kun. Lily is a unique person, and that’s a good thing.

J: Thanks, Emma.

By Jenifer Tull-Gauger 

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