“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” (James 1:2-4)
I once listened to a radio interview in which a very successful and wealthy self-made businessman talked about how he and his wife made sure to give their children the best in life. The best toys, clothes, education, cars, computers, vacations, comforts, etc. Whatever they wanted, they got. This businessman had grown up poor and so he wanted his own children to have everything that he had missed out on. However, by the time his two sons had grown into adults and it was time for them to take over their father’s business, the father realized that they were not mature and responsible enough for the job. Whereas the father had started with nothing and worked hard to make his fortune, his sons had no such work ethic or vision and the father realized that if they were put in charge of his company it was only a matter of time before the company would fail completely. And it was really his fault.
As parents we need to protect our children from many things, but not from challenges or problems or even failure. These things are often the best teachers for learning how to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and try again!
This weekend my 7-year-old son played 4 soccer games in two days! His team lost 3 out of 4 games and he was pretty depressed when it was all over with. Seeing him sad was not easy for me, but I knew he was learning a very valuable lesson about perseverance. We can’t protect our children from failure and we shouldn’t because it is part of life. Of course, I wanted my son’s team to win every game, but not as much as I want my son to give his best effort with his best attitude and when he falls, watch him get back up, dust himself off, and go play again. That kind of attitude and character will take him far in life!
“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment.” (Romans 5:3-5)
Next week we'll talk about a Hope that is indestructible.