Do Hard Things

So, I am a math teacher. I literally love math with a passion!  Math just makes sense to me. It makes me happy to solve a problem and get the answer. I can win every time!   

What I have learned over all the years I have been teaching is that not everyone feels the same.  When teaching high school math especially, not every face that comes through the door has a smile on it.  Oh sure, most of them like me as a teacher. They enjoy my class and like my anecdotes about learning how to “save the X and move all the bad guys to the other side of the equal sign.”    But the truth is, some of them just cannot stand math! It is inconceivable to me. Hahaha

As always, I do my best to make the class fun, enjoyable even, but at the end of the day the bottom line is – YOU MUST LEARN MATH.  Students will give me all kinds of reasons why this may not be possible:
“MY brain just doesn’t get it.”
“Numbers are confusing.”
“English is my subject, not math.”
“My parents don’t get it either.”
…and the list goes on.

The most common reason I hear, however, is my least favorite and the one that I give the most dramatic eyeroll to.  In fact, those students unfortunate enough to give me this excuse will usually get a lecture/ Bible lesson from me:  “It is too hard, I can’t do it.”

As soon as those words are out of their mouth – my response is ready:  “Do hard things.”
The process of learning begins as soon as we are born.  We learn how to communicate needs such as hunger, fatigue, loneliness.  We continue to mature and start forming words and facial expressions to interact with our world around us.  Body movements follow and soon we are exploring our world and putting one foot in front of the other.  So many things can and are conquered just by sheer determination and drive. 

Somewhere in the process of all the new and learned things, something else happens.  We discover that some lessons and skills come easier than others.  We realize how enjoyable it is to conquer our world and how unpleasant it is to struggle and be uncomfortable.  Pretty soon a thought begins to form:  things that are hard and thus not fun can and should be avoided.  

Why is this?  Somewhere the thrill of accomplishment is overshadowed by the ease of life. Avoidance becomes a more preferred skill or trait than perseverance and grit.  Even worse, some kids and teens will learn that rather than work hard and possibly fail, they would rather let their parents solve it, fix it, do it instead – and, sadly, many parents are willing to do just that! 

May I just offer a little bit of advice or wisdom here? DO HARD THINGS.  DO THEM FOR YOURSELF.  DO IT FOR YOUR FUTURE. DO IT EVEN IF YOU FAIL.

God has given us so many examples in His word to learn from and to grow by.  The real life stories of people who have had to make a difficult choice, do something so hard that we cringe when asking ourselves if we could have made the same decision. How many can you think of?
Noah
David
Daniel
Ruth
Rahab
Paul
The Woman at the well
…and the list goes on.

What I would like to point out is that out of all of the people I can think of, God was faithful.  He did not turn away.  There was a lesson to be learned, for sure.  The path was not easy. But they were better for it!  God used each of these people to give an example of faithfulness, of Godly character, of creating a life of strength and determination.

How are we limiting our children when we, as parents, continue to fix their problems for them?  Are we really preparing them for their future as a husband and a wife, a mom and a father, if we never let them see the consequences of a job well done or the difference  a choice can make when they procrastinate or fail?  Are we really teaching them how to navigate into adulthood if we immediately criticize the authority figures in their lives and rush to find the loopholes in the rules to erase a deserved demerit in school or argue whether or not the staff have the rights to demand excellence in character and academics?  Will our young people be able to keep a job or a relationship when we have never given them an opportunity to face an unwanted or undesired demand, rule, requirement, grade? 

Doing hard things is a GOOD THING for children and teens (and adults!).  It creates inner strength, grit, leadership skills, and communication skills.  It also allows opportunity for a young person to grow closer to the Lord in prayer, trust, and in faith.  Timing is everything!  Let your child do hard things while they are young and in your home.  This allows you to guide them, counsel them, console them when it doesn’t work out, celebrate with them when it does!!!  God has given us the GREATEST task of all….to raise our children to honor, glorify, and worship HIM.  We cannot do this if we never allow our kids an opportunity to GROW.   Just like when our toddlers were learning to walk – we held their hand for a time, but eventually we let go and let them stumble until they stood strong and RAN!

2 thoughts on “Do Hard Things

  1. I really appreciate your words here. Some things are hard, and that is OK! I also tell my own kids….you can’t do it YET! Focus on the parts you do know and build from there.

  2. Mike Mutchler 11 Apr 2022 — 1:26 pm

    Great Article!

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