Parents Matt and Amy Roloff are "little people" raising a big family. They have four children: teenage twins Zachary and Jeremy, preteen daughter Molly, and the youngest, Jacob. The latter three are average sized, and Zachary is a little person. Throughout their hit reality show, "Little People, Big World," they emphasize that, even though they are individuals living with dwarfism, they do most of the things average people do--"just in a different way." In this excerpt from their new book "Little Family, Big Values," Amy and Matt talk about the importance of perseverance and how they try to instill that value in their children.

Amy, the mom

Winston Churchill, the famous World War II–era British prime minister, gave his most  famous—and shortest—speech at a college graduation ceremony, telling the soon-to-be graduates: "Never give up. Let me continue by saying:  Never,  never give up!  And in conclusion I say to you: Never, never, never give up!"


Not only was that great advice, but it also defines one of the family values in the Roloff household: perseverance. And while none of us Roloffs have ever had to lead a nation through the darkest days of a terrible world war, we have had opportunity to learn what perseverance is all about as—we've endured our own difficulties and challenges.


Perseverance means that you keep going, even when things are difficult—especially when things are difficult. It means getting up every single day without asking, "Why me?" or saying, "I can't go on!" but instead saying, "What can I do to make today a great one, despite all that is going on in my life now?" and "Thank you, God, for thinking enough of me to allow me to have to endure the pain and difficulty I'm going through now." And it means knowing that there is a purpose in what you're enduring and making sure you keep your eyes open to find it.


Being little people, Matt and I have had more to persevere through than most people. We have had to deal daily with our physical limitations, Matt has had to go through surgeries and other painful medical procedures, and we've both had to take being "looked down on" because we are smaller and because we are "different."


However, this isn't all bad news. We have learned that there are, in a very real way, advantages in what we've gone through when it comes to learning to persevere through difficult times.


Now, most average-sized people might look at us and ask, "How in the world can you say there's an advantage to being little?" The answer to that is simple: When you are a little person in a big world—or when there is anything about you that makes you "different" to the point where people can't help but notice or that limits you in some area—that difference tends to make you stronger mentally and give you "muscles" of perseverance and resiliency that most people don't have because they've not had to endure any real difficulties—at least not on the level that we have.

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