Have you seen the show American grit? My husband loves the show, and we watch it together. John Cena is the host of the show and men and women from all walks of life go to a camp where they live and compete in a series of physical, sometimes mental challenges until eliminated. The last man or woman standing is the one who wins the prize.
Grit is a personality trait that is defined as courage and resolve; and strength of character. Synonyms include courage, bravery, pluck, mettle, backbone, strength of character, strength of will, moral fiber, steel, nerve, fortitude, toughness, hardiness, resolve, resolution, determination, tenacity, perseverance, and endurance.
As a parent teaching strong character is one of the most important things that we do with our children. We accomplish this by many different means, and sometimes we wonder does what we are doing with our children even make a difference? My answer is Yes! It absolutely matters.
Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. – Romans 5:3-5 ESV
We can rejoice because that character produces hope and character matters.
I would like to commend my son Ian today for his grit. Let me explain, every year we approach the beginning of our school year by seeking God’s will in prayer of each of our children. Through a series of unforeseen circumstances, our plans for this school changed a few short weeks before school began. Through much discussion and prayer, Ian asked if he could play football this year. He played football in junior high but took off during his freshman year and wasn’t physically active over the course of the past year.
Sign-ups for the season began last year in the spring, and by August 1st the team was formed and already out on the field training and conditioning. The problem for us is that on August 1st we were across the country on a much need vacation after a whirlwind summer of wedding planning and the marriage of my eldest son.
I submitted a request to play with the Tomball Christian Warriors and told Ian I was not sure if he would be able to play this year. As we waited, we committed it to prayer and planned out the rest of our school year. We pray we make plans, but the Lord orders our steps.
The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps. – Proverbs 16:9 ESV
On our way home from the east coast much to our delight we found out Ian was able to play. He needed to have a physical and concussion baseline test before we could get out on the field. I immediately scheduled those appointments, bought Ian some practice gear and by the middle of August Ian was on the field. He joined late, but he made the team.
After a year of physical inactivity, the first few weeks on the field were pretty rough. In full gear with temperatures hovering around 100 degrees and the killer Texas humidity, running around the field for hours in the blistering sun provided to be quite challenging.
One day we picked Ian up and he wasn’t looking so great. Drenched with sweat I could tell he was exhausted. I thought he rolled the window down in the back seat to get some much needed fresh air, but instead, he painted the side of the car with the contents of his lunch. Another day on our way home from his coop class he was so tired that he fell asleep in the car on our way home from class, and fell asleep again in the car on the way home from practice.
Football practice was really kicking his butt but through his grit, determination, and hard work he was recognized by his coaches on the field. During the last quarter of the first game of the year, Ian was put on the field, and he did a great job as left tackle! After the game, his coach told us that he did a great job and that he would get him back on the field sooner.
Ian pushed and persevered through hard work and determination, despite being behind, starting late, and getting sick. Coming home after practiced battered and bruised. Getting out on the field and giving it his all day after day. He has proven himself to his coaches, his peers, his parents and himself. All of that grit has paid off and has earned him a starting position on the varsity team.
Picking ourselves up when we have been knocked down by life and getting back up produces character in us. Showing up day after day when we have been beaten up by life and just taking the next step forward somedays is all we can do.
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. – James 1:2-4
The trials that we face in life are what test our faith, and through our faith and trust in Jesus Christ and the sanctification process we become more like Christ each day and that is true grit!
I would love to know what Christ-like character traits you see your children exhibiting that you could encourage this week? What traits would you like to further develop in your children? This week I challenge to live aware of your child’s character. Find something worthwhile that they are doing that you can praise them for, and watch to see how their character may flourish.