As a part of our Sunday Morning curriculum we have had a month discussing the character trait of perseverance. The whole month has been centered around people from the Bible who refused to give up when things got hard.
Don’t we all have a favorite person from the Bible who refused to give up, even when things looked absolutely bleak?
The reason I mention any of this was that our most recent lesson had three short stories, two of which ended with someone who refused to give up: a girl with dyslexia who read out loud in class despite her difficulty and a really lackluster soccer player who discovered his dream to be a coach instead of a player. These got the children excited and interested, they began engaging with me as I told these stories. And then we got to the middle story.
The middle story was about a young lad who had trouble tying his shoes. His dad bought him a fantastic pair of new shoes, but they had laces… And when I told the children that instead of practicing or working hard the kid gave up and never wore the shoes his dad bought him, the look of disgust and disbelief on their faces was surprising.
There has been so much trash talk swapped between generations since the ancient times – even the Greek philosophers talked about the “wild and crazy” youth. But lately, the jibes have been turning from “wild and crazy” to “just plain lazy.” I wonder where that comes from.
The looks on these kids faces told me that giving up wasn’t even an option. The idea of someone just throwing up their hands in defeat stunned them into silence and then argument. “What do you mean he just gave up? That doesn’t make sense!” Kids don’t give up, it almost seems against their nature.
I wonder when many adults lost that sense of righteous disgust at giving up when things get hard? Where did the younger generation pick up a habit of “it’s no use?”
If you have a rebuttal for your particular instance, this may or may not apply to you. Or, maybe you should take a moment and think about where that rebuttal stems from and where your emotions are.
Giving up isn’t in human nature. God designed us to push forward and take one more step toward our goals. Jesus himself pushed through terrible pain and anguish because he could see the victory on the other side of the struggle. And maybe that’s the key. Maybe kids have a clearer vision of the possible victory and joy. Maybe their eyes haven’t been clouded by cynicism and apathy.
So as the kids learned yesterday, “When life gets hard, remember what Jesus did for you.”
What is the culture of perseverance at your house? How do you talk about difficult situations and which ones need perseverance and which ones need a brave refusal?