FATHERS UNIQUELY IMPART THE ABILITY TO PERSEVERE through obstacles to their children. Studies have shown fatherless children have a reduced capacity to push through obstacles, problems, and barriers that stand between them and their goals. That is because persistence is a discipline that God created men to uniquely excel at, and men pass it on to their children.
I started a business and ran it for twenty-five years. Then I planted a church that I led for eighteen years. Both projects required the ability to persevere through discouragements, and setbacks. Where did I get the ability to do that? From my father.
My High School cross country team was a perennial state champion. One day the coach took me aside and asked me to turn out. I was flattered, so I decided to try out. My father knew what was coming and took me aside. “Do you realize how painful this is going to be? If you start, you’re not going to quit. Do you understand what I am talking about? Men finish what they start.”
“Don’t worry, dad,” I naïvely responded. “I’ll be OK. I won’t quit.”
My dad was right. There was a reason we were perennial state champions. The practices were brutal. We began with interval miles. We would run one as fast as possible, take a ninety second rest, and then ran another. We usually did this for six miles. Then we would hit the road for another ten or twelve miles. It was grueling. It was painful. It hurt all over. In addition, it was not my gift. I wasn’t fast. No matter how hard I tried, I just didn’t have the ability to compete at the top level.
“I’m quitting” I told my father after a few weeks.
“Not so fast,” he firmly responded. “Remember, our discussion? Men finish what they start. They persevere through obstacles. When the going gets tough, they don’t quit or give up. They keep going.”
So, I endured every miserable workout for the rest of the season. I hated every minute, but I learned an important lesson. Masculinity doesn’t give up. It perseveres through obstacles. However, the next year I took the easy way out.
I played football.
How did my father learn that lesson? From his father, who learned it from his and so forth. My sons did the same. When my twelve-year-old wanted to quit his paper route after five days, I told him the same thing my father told me. “Dave. I know its difficult, but men finish what they start.” Why? That’s what men do. That is how they overcome obstacles and discouragements that tempt them to give up.
If you are a father reading this, be encouraged, and don’t give up. You parent differently than your wife, and your children need that. Your contribution to your child’s development is crucial. If you are a mother, encourage your husband’s involvement with your children. If you are a child, and have a father present in your life, give thanks to God.