I watched as my husband sat on the end of the bed and looked at him. His ole fuzzy head and dimpled face hasn’t changed much in 9 years. He’s just so cute. Brandon began to talk to him about his experiences with school and sports. “Bud, I wasn’t that good at sports at your age. And I wasn’t good at math in the third grade, either,” he said. Carter’s eyes widened. The look of surprise was evident. His dad, the warrior in Carter’s eyes, the guy that doesn’t give up, that pushes his mid-30 body to limits many don’t… he struggled?
“That’s why you have to keep working, keep pushing, have grit, son,” he went on. Grit. It’s a new word to our family. “Firmness of character,” “resolution,” “fortitude,” “courage,” “firmness of purpose,” “mental and emotional strength in facing difficulty, adversity, danger, or temptation courageously.”
It’s a mental toughness. And my husband possesses it. I think it’s because those words he told Carter were true: he was pushed as a young kid to plow through his struggles and not make excuses. Brandon’s mom didn’t shy away from any sport that Brandon wasn’t the best at nor did she make excuses for his difficulties in math. Granted, they cried together as he pulled himself up (and his momma pulled him up) each time he wanted to quit. But that momma of his didn’t give up on him.
Ease of learning or ease in extracurricular activities isn’t all where it’s at. The mountains our children must climb are storing up for their future selves grit and determination to conquer life’s mountains or challenges they set out to accomplish for themselves. If our children want to try something that we think may be a bust because we don’t think they will succeed, we need to weigh our response. Oftentimes saying no will only handicap our children’s storehouse of grit if our “no” is in a false sense of protection.
“We are parenting for a day we won’t see.” Author unknown.
I love that quotation. I don’t know where my husband and I read it, but it’s the absolute truth. May we raise a generation of gritty children who are firm in who they are and have strength in all circumstances, especially the tough ones they will face day in and day out year after year. And we can pray for grit, because God can give it.
I think of our dearest friends whose four children are overseas alongside them in temporary housing and in a school that isn’t ideal. Grit that God has given them helps them wake up each morning and get things done. They have longed for three months to be firmly planted in the community God has for them, but God has them set as nomads for the time being. They are weary, but, oh they are gritty, too, by God’s grace! Firm in their purpose in that big city to raise those kids to know and love Jesus and proclaim His name among the lost there.
Be gritty. Have grit. Encourage your kids to be gritty. It’s the difference between success and failure.
Grit. Get you some!