Grit and perseverance are getting a lot of attention right now. Educators and human resources directors alike are responding to studies that show children who have the grit to persevere through life’s challenges are ultimately more successful in life. But how do you encourage grit and perseverance in kids? One way is to inspire them with stories of others who have faced challenges and come through them with grace and dignity.
The movie 1000 to 1 is a great way to show kids what it means to have grit. The movie is based on the true story of Cory Weissman, a high school basketball star who suffers a debilitating stroke during his first year of college. The movie portrays Cory’s amazing perseverance as he rebuilds his physical abilities. With quotes like, “How you react to something is just as important as what happens to you,” the film offers countless teaching opportunities. Cory’s unrelenting sense of humor shows children how to face challenges with optimism. As they watch Cory relentlessly face setbacks physically, in his friendships, and in his sport, children learn about how to have grit in the face of adversity. Cory stays focused on his long-term goal, demonstrating a growth mindset. And in the end, when he almost reaches his goal, kids see a reality check on setting goals and knowing when to adjust them.
Grade level: upper elementary, middle school, high school students (Note there is a scene at a college party that is very tame. There are also two very chaste kisses between college age kids.) Throughout the story note the resilience to physical and emotional setbacks, the way Cory treats others with respect even when he is feeling upset, the determination and work ethic in reaching a goal, the displays of empathy and compassion.
After Cory’s stroke, he isn’t physically ready to play with his college team, but he wants to be a part of the team while he recuperates. So this former star player goes to every practice and every game and hands out water and towels. Trait: humility, perseverance
When his ex-girlfriend (who broke up with him because she wasn’t able to handle the challenges he was facing) comes around after he has recovered, Cory handles it with grace, respect, and forgiveness, setting a beautiful example for others.
Cory has worked incredibly hard and defied doctor’s expectations for his physical recovery. But it’s still not enough to be a collegiate level basketball player. Cory thinks about quitting and says, “I thought if you work hard you can achieve anything.” He realizes it’s time to adjust his goals—that he can’t be his old self, but he can be a new version of himself that is even better. Traits: growth mindset and a beautiful lesson on how failures can help you grow in new directions
Empathy, kindness, and respect are evident throughout the film as Cory inspires others through his gentlemanly, courageous behavior.
Find more videos that teach perseverance and good traits in our Best Character Ed Videos List.
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