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A Lasting Assist welcomes you to follow our “pay it forward” movement chronicling inspiration and virtue. The storyline goes back many years, when a good deed led to the formation of MinneapolisNEXT, a nonprofit that provides opportunities and tools youth need to achieve their goals and pursue their dreams. One good deed can truly lead to another.

We encourage you to share this outreach with others for the gift without the giver is bare and we welcome the submission of warmhearted stories that will further our mission of promoting leadership and character.

The backstory

MinneapolisNEXT today

The NEXT scholars at our two partner high schools write leadership essays. The students' prose will be a regular feature.


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Every day I find something that I need to persevere through; be it something little or something large. I believe that without perseverance I wouldn’t be as happy as I am now because the struggle of making it through life’s setbacks makes everything more enjoyable. Perseverance is a great way to show us that the things we really want in life should be worked for, and we need to understand that not everything in life is given, but needs to be earned. I believe I understand the importance of perseverance.

Perseverance isn’t always the greatest struggle, as it can be little things, but it is such an important virtue. In my case, getting out of bed every morning is a struggle. Waking up is not too hard, as I usually get up right when my alarm goes off, but the hard part is actually stepping out of bed and getting ready for my day ahead, especially when there are things I am not looking forward to facing. That’s the hardest part about getting up. I have to persevere and get out of bed to get ready on time. It shows me how that little struggle and my perseverance through it shows me that so little can accomplish so much.

Perseverance is, in my opinion, a key to everybody’s life. Without perseverance I’m confident people wouldn’t understand the importance of working for what they get. Parents should stress the importance of working hard to their kids, so that the kids learn this valuable lesson. This way kids, and their kids, will be working hard for everything they want. If people work harder for what they want they can understand truly how the “real world” works. On page 553 in The Book of Virtues it says, “Rejoice, and men will seek you; Grieve and they turn and go.” To me this quote means that people will surround you when you are happy, but may leave you when you aren’t. I think this can somewhat relate to perseverance, in the way that if people persevere for what they want they will be happier with what they get. When someone works hard for what they really want they will be happy that they worked for what they got. So in that way people will surround them since they are happy.


NEXT Scholar


Self-discipline is an extremely important virtue; and it may even be the most important virtue because it is so extremely necessary for success. People who are gifted in self-discipline are able to overcome their weaknesses and pursue what they think is right. Being self-disciplined is extremely rewarding because it helps to prioritize everything in life and allows you to get work done more efficiently. Many people who are self-disciplined are able to turn away from things that they know are wrong and are able to follow what they know to be right. These wrong things may be cheating on homework in school, or much more serious and long-lasting things, such as drug use. Self-disciplined people are able to rise above from anything that will hold them down because they know how to make the right decisions.

In my life, I have found that I have very good self-discipline. I am a very hard worker who is very focused on my education and schoolwork. In school, I could take the easy way out and cheat on assignments, but my self-discipline helps me to focus on what is right and not make the wrong decision. I know that I should do my own work so that I learn the material. Being able to do all of my schoolwork takes a lot of self-discipline because there is simply such a large amount of it, however, I know it is the right choice to complete all my homework so I can get better grades and learn more from the rigorous classes. As Bennett says in the introduction of The Book of Virtues, “Remember, virtues for the most part lie in our actions and good deeds, not just good thoughts and intentions”. I completely agree with this quote because in order for me to be self-disciplined, I have to act on the virtue and not just think about it.


NEXT Scholar

My Personal Faith Journey

“The miracle of ordinary things fill children’s worlds. They sense, as Woodward phrased it, the ‘intimations of immortality’ we too often neglect as adults”.  This excerpt from The Book of Virtues reinforces the idea frequently repeated in the Bible concerning how we must remain childlike in order to receive the Lord. As we grow older, our minds begin the struggle to explain mysteries in our lives. With each year it becomes more difficult to rely on God to take care of our problems and to let go of the unknown. Children are easily able to accept truths at face value with an unwavering loyalty to God; a force we cannot see. We must become similar to children, and rely on God to oversee our lives, and solve our problems.

One of the most difficult struggles I have gone through is my lifelong battle with anxiety. I was an anxious kid, an anxious preteen, and now an anxious adolescent. I have always had issues with feeling in control of my own life, and have an abundance of self-imposed pressure on my shoulders. As I began to strengthen my faith, I found comfort in the Bible, and my faith community. William J. Bennett has strong beliefs that we must receive God in a childlike manner in order to have a stable, fulfilling relationship with God. I continue to work on my relationship with God on a daily basis, working towards giving up my anxieties to God.

Faith is a personal, unique, lifelong journey dedicated to strengthening your relationship with God. It involves giving up your control in order to allow the divine power of God to act in your life. If we are to be open and ready to receive God’s power, that is to act in our lives. Children are the example; they set the standard for the open, curious approach we are to have towards the Lord.


NEXT Scholar