Character Corner: Diligence/Thoroughness – musings, quotes, and parenting tips from


Jennifer’s two kids have very different approaches to cleaning their rooms on Saturday mornings.  Lisa, the younger takes her time and pays attention to detail.  Denise, the elder gets distracted by toys and books and then hurries through—but wants the same praise that Lisa gets.  The challenge for Mom is helping Denise get to the point that Mom can genuinely praise her for a job well done.


Together the family makes a list: “What Does a Clean Room Look Like?”  Each girl calls Mom for review and goes over the checklist with her.  Now Denise is in charge of her own evaluation, and the conversation shifts.

What is diligence?

Diligence is the earnest, conscientious application of our energy to accomplish what we’ve undertaken. When we are diligent, we pay careful attention to detail and are dedicated to achieving quality results.

Diligence means that we are continually working toward our goals, making use of what resources and opportunities are available. We are vigilant to avoid errors and to stay focused on the task at hand. Our diligence provides a basis for people trusting us with jobs that are tricky or complicated and also important to them. Diligence does not rely on talent, but employs commitment, industry, and perseverance to transform vision into reality.

Five Quotes to contemplate, discuss and share.

When you can do the common things of life in an uncommon way, you will command the attention of the world.
–George Washington Carver

Genius is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration.
–Thomas Alva Edison

Every job is a portrait of the person who does it. Autograph your work with excellence..
–Abraham Lincoln

See your road through.
–J. R. R. Tolkien

What we hope ever to do with ease, we must learn first to do with diligence. 
– Samuel Johnson

Bringing it home to your kids

  1. Children thrive on teamwork, just like many adults do.  Try doing household tasks together rather than dividing them up.
  2. Whenever possible make work playful.  Simple games, singing, or trying together to beat the clock can help your child discover that work can be fun.
  3. Don’t forget how many years of practice you have at simple tasks; the difference between a job done marginally and a job done well is something that takes coaching and practice.
  4. When your child has completed a task or project, have them critique it:  Can they see where it needs improvement? Which parts are they particularly pleased with?
  5. The last five percent of a task is often the hardest.  When your child’s attention is flagging, work with them rather than working for them.
  6. Watch out for “praise inflation”—save your praise for that which is genuinely praiseworthy based on your child’s capabilities.

Photo by horizontal.integration

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