Sunday, December 5, 2010

Try, and Try Again

Keep Trying!
Last evening, a friend told me about his road to pastoring a large, growing church. He has a doctorate in a Engineering, not the normal background for pastor work. He said that there were many students in the doctoral program more intelligent than him, although I am not sure I totally believe that. My friend said that 90% of his success in the program was due to endurance. He had failed some courses, but kept trying while others with more natural ability quit. We talked about how many times we have seen the power of endurance in succeeding.

I don't generally use Parade Magazine as a source, but I can't resist the quote today of actor Jack Black: "The more sleep I get, the better dad I am. Parenting is 90% energy; if you don't have it, then there tends to be some lazy TV watching days with the kids, and that ain't gettin' it done. A great day with them--my sons are 4 and 2--is an energized adventure into the world." I like different parts of this statement, but for now, did you notice the 90% that my friend and Jack mentioned? Endurance and energy.

Building Bravehearts is about children succeeding by having the courage to try. Not just trying once, but trying again and again:  persevering, enduring. Which requires energy. Success in any endeavor--school, work, relationships, or parenting--depends on trying, over and over, even when things are hard. There is certainly an element of ability and skill needed, but those are empty without endurance.

How can we help our children learn to try and try again?

Our small group at church began studying James this week. What a powerful book of faith in action. Notice the result of the trials we face from James 1:2-3: "Consider it all joy, my brothers, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing."

Our children can learn endurance by trials. We can help them grow through trials instead of putting them in perfectly orchestrated situations where trials are practically absent. Or, even worse, allowing them to quit a class, a job, or a commitment before it has run its natural course (there are always exceptions, but quitting should be the rare exception, not the norm or first choice). There is value to trusting God's sovereignty in our children’s lives and helping them learn from what we may see as less than perfect situations. Be good parents, and don't put children in harm's way intentionally or in situations where they really can't succeed. But, let's be open to helping our children try, and try again in hard things, so he or she becomes a braveheart and succeeds like my friend.

Last, a side note. Endurance develops from facing trials. But Jack's point of the need for rest is well taken. We, including our children, endure and face trials better when some basics are in place. Rest is one of them, how are your children doing? How about good food, short on sweets and caffeine, and high on vegetables and good carbs? How about emotionally? Do your children have a safe place and feel loved? And the list can continue. What are other ways to make sure each child has energy and strength to endure?

No comments:

Post a Comment