Kids have lots of dreams and aspirations. Sometimes it seems like turning these goals into reality is impossible and that can be very discouraging. It could even result in some kids giving up on their dreams prematurely. For this reason, you can help your kids to persevere when their hopes begin to dim by finding inspiring examples of how sticking with something pays off. Consider what your children’s goals are when coming up with examples. If your son or daughter is an athlete, then American Ninja Warrior may be just the ticket. This year was the 7th season of the television show, which features an incredible series of obstacle courses. Thousands of athletes from around the country try to finish the obstacle course and the overall contest starts with tough events staged in cities across the US before progressing to regional finals. After that, the course moves to Las Vegas for the final 4 stages of Mount Midoriyama. The athlete who makes it to the top will win a cash prize of $1,000,000. Last year was the first time an American made it to Stage 3. The creators are constantly coming up with new obstacles to test the skills of the athletes and even though people train all year for this event, rookie and veteran “ninjas” fall along the way. Sometimes the falls happen on new obstacles, but they also happen on obstacles that are standard. No amount of training makes an obstacle foolproof since success is only as good as that one run in competition. Watching these veterans fall time and time again can make it seem like reaching the top of the Mount Midoriyama is impossible, but the athletes don’t stop trying. When they fall on the “jumping spider” obstacle or the ‘salmon ladder’ challenge, they go back home and practice some more. Not only are these athletes inspired to continue training to reach their goal, the athletes encourage and support each other throughout the year. Even when they fall out of the competition, the competitors are on the sidelines cheering for their friends, training partners, and every other athlete who is on the course. Season 7 wrapped up with a record number of athletes making it to Stage 3 of the competition. One by one, rookies and seasoned vets fell on this latest challenge. People watched fallen warriors cheer on Ian Dory as he flew through the course and make history by going further than any American had before, falling just feet before finishing that stage. Stage 3 was looking like it was going to prove to be the undoing of the athletes once again, until two athletes, Geoff Britten and Isaac Caldiero succeeded in finishing the stage. Would this be the year that an athlete would be crowned the first American Ninja Warrior and take home the prize? Thousands dreamt of this goal, but none had made it in 6 seasons. It all came down to a seemingly impossible rope climb: 75 feet in less than 30 seconds. Keep in mind this was done after completing the first 3 stages all in the same night. If both athletes reached the top, it would come down to who had the fastest time. Britten was the first to climb the rope and at first, it looked like he would sprint to the top with ease. With ten feet left, fatigue set in. Remarkably, he found the inner strength to go on and was the first American Ninja Warrior, reaching the top with only .35 seconds left on the clock! The jubilation in the crowd was palpable through the television as athletes cheered at Geoff’s success. You could read the lips of many of the athletes saying things like “that was crazy!” Caldiero would go up the rope after Britten. Would he be able to reach the top? Would he beat Geoff’s time and win the prize? Was he buoyed knowing that it was indeed possible? Or was he confident he would’ve made it even if Britten hadn’t because of his top-notch rock climbing skills? Isaac started a bit slower, but raced up the rope. Towards the top, he started to slow down too, but in the end, Caldiero made it to the top and became the 2nd American Ninja Warrior, beating Britten’s time and claimed the prize money. At the beginning of the season, thousands of athletes faced a dream that seemed impossible. Many had been working at this for the six years of the show. Nearly every athlete practiced on Ninja courses all year long, whether in a special gym or on their homemade equipment. Several even traveled the world in order to get more experience in Ninja competitions. The athletes weren’t daunted by the fact that no one had succeeded yet. They kept on working to get better, stronger, and gain a variety of skills. Just as it seemed impossible for a human to run a mile in under 4 minutes until someone did, it seemed impossible to reach the top of Mount Midoriyama. All that work paid off this year with not one, but two American Ninja Warriors. Your child’s dreams may not be nearly as impossible as being crowned American Ninja Warrior. This show and the athletes who continue to persevere in the face of their falls can inspire kids to keep on pushing even if it takes several seasons to reach the top of their mountain.