As my wife and I described ways to overcome difficult times to our child, I could see she was struggling. Not only had there been a total shift in the ways she was used to doing her school work, the content had become increasingly more difficult for her.
Within her eyes I could see a combination of both frustration and normal pre-teenage defiance. It was evident she had conditioned herself for defeat because the journey would simply be too hard in her mind.
My daughter truly wanted to please us by excelling, but the cost was becoming more and more difficult with each passing day. The things which used to come easy for her were a fleeting memory and all that remained was a constant battle between giving up and finding the strength to overcome her challenges, challenges which were growing larger.
As I thought about how to help my child conquer the present challenge she faced, it was apparent that she was suffering from primarily a self-imposed mental block. Her frustration and lack of motivation was in turn causing her to spin her wheels in a endless bog of mud, per say, rather than having an ability to overcome and excel.
I thought about how often you and I go through the same frustrations as we face the bogs in our paths on a day-to-day basis. Unfortunately, maturity and age doesn’t cause us to be exempt from struggles along the way. Although we would love to be able to describe how at a certain age or point in our existence, we no longer experience struggles or frustrations but truly, that’s not the case.
Rather, life it seems is a constant interaction between good times and struggles, high points and valleys. It seems to have never ending walls of crumbling soil where our footing remains unsure, and the security of a solid foundation is just out of our reach.
The one thing we older folks have learned over the years is that if we merely hold on, if we simply continue placing one foot in front of the other, if we remain focused, then we can overcome the valleys in life. Sure, the times of trial and frustration are not desirable, and many times prove themselves debilitating. But through endurance and perseverance we can and will overcome any challenge we face.
Finding the will to go on as we face the challenges before us is crucial for each of us.
For without that will, man never would have stepped on the surface of the moon, said no to tyranny and had a tea party, stormed the hill at Bunker, crossed the beaches of Normandy, or spoke the words which birthed a movement, “I have a dream.”
Sharing those strategies with our younger generations, mentoring them on overcoming their own obstacles, does little more than pave the path, deep within each of them to succeed when all seems lost. That my friends is what its all about.
Although my beloved child struggles still, she now has a better understanding of how, with each sunrise a bright new day arrives, full of possibility and opportunity. A day worth fighting for, a day of overcoming struggles and basking in the light of what’s to come. Find your stronghold my friends and hold on with all you got.
Richard J. Stephens lives in Carter County and is the father of three little ladies ranging in age from nine to 29.