The Persevering Parent

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Here is the core of an article I sent out to my parents  at Heritage Christian Schools, viagra sales medical titled “The Persevering Parent.”  Raising children may not be where you need to apply such needed perseverance, search perhaps it with other issues.  Regardless, ambulance the story below is worth reading and storing in your memory, along other thoughts and Scriptures on perseverance I added just for you.

Perseverance in parenting is not so much one long race, but rather a series of short races connected together like links of a chain. – Dr. McClain

Years ago when I was a young parent, I ran a 26 mile marathon race in Colorado.  The race was difficult – a series of short runs, one leading to the next, very much like the links of a chain.  Each running link had its own challenge.  For instance, the first seven miles were certainly different than the final seven, especially in relation to the amount of energy I had in reserve.  The marathon is analogous to the challenges of parenting because both require perseverance in order to finish well.

Parenting must be accomplished in stages as well, with one stage (or link) leading to the next.  Each stage has its own challenges, surprises, disappointments, and victories.  The key to each stage is your persistent resolve to trust God, your commitment to be in harmony with your spouse, and your unrelenting steadfastness never to give up no matter what.  If you are constant in these three things, and you take you’re parenting responsibilities one stage (link) at a time, you will finish strong with your children.

I want to share with you two key passages and a remarkable story that demonstrate perseverance.

The first passage comes from a letter Paul wrote to his fellow Christians in Philippi during his last days of life on earth.  In this passage Paul was not engrossed in his past failures or successes.  He was only focused on what he could do for the Lord now and into the future.  In your parenting you need to have this same attitude; that is, do not be overly wrought with past failures or dependent on past successes.

Philippians 3:12-14    12Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.  13Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do:  forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, 14I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

In the next passage, Paul speaks of running a persistent race for God by presenting the Gospel to as many as he could during his lifetime.  This is what Paul regarded as winning the race.  You need the same winning persistence with your children – do all you can to nurture and mature them to be wonderful sons and daughters of the Lord.  And winning means you never give up but persevere through every circumstance thrown in your or your child’s path.

I Corinthians 9:23-25    23I do all things for the sake of the gospel, so that I may become a fellow partaker of it.   24Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize?  Run in such a way that you may win.  25Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things.  They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.

In the following story you will see tremendous resolve and perseverance against all odds to save the lives of 27 men.  As a parent you should take this as an example of what you would be willing to do with your own children.

In December 1914, Ernest Shackleton and a crew of 27 men departed from the Atlantic Ocean island of South Georgia in a quest to cross Antarctica on foot as it was the last-known unclaimed prize in exploration annals.  As they drew within 85 miles of the continent, their ship was trapped by unusually thick ice.  Originally called Polaris, the ship had been renamed Endurance by Shackleton.  The name was derived from his family motto,Fortitudine Vincimus, which means “by endurance we conquer.”  This name proved to be prophetic.

Frozen fast for ten months, the trapped ship was eventually crushed and destroyed by increasing ice pressure.  Forced to abandon the ship, the men salvaged their lifeboats, camped on the ice for five months, and hiked to navigable waters.  Amazingly, Shackleton and every crew member survived for 20 months in one of the most vicious regions of the world.  They overcame extreme cold, breaking ice floes, leopard seal attacks, a shortage of food and drinking water, and two open boat trips.

The most remarkable of the small boat trips was a treacherous 800-mile ocean crossing back to South Georgia by Shackleton and a few of the men.  Today, that achievement is considered one of the greatest accomplishments in nautical history.  After arriving at South Georgia, Shackleton led his team across the rugged, icy mountains, reached the island’s remote whaling station, organized a rescue team, and went back for the others.

The miraculous outcome against horrendous odds was attributed to Shackleton’s leadership.  When interviewed later, every member of the crew said he highly respected and admired Shackleton throughout the entire two-year ordeal.  Shackleton never doubted they would survive, and he communicated this confidence to the others.  But his optimism was mixed with realism.  When it became clear the Endurance could not withstand the pressure of the ice, he made plans to abandon ship, set up camp, and search for additional possibilities.  When they journeyed across the ice and Shackleton realized the need to discard weight, one of the first things to go was his valuable heirloom gold watch, which the men knew he greatly treasured.  In the lifeboat journey through the frigid stormy sea, he daringly stood in the stern of the small craft and meticulously guided its course.

Shackleton maintained cohesion and cooperation among the men.  He constantly emphasized, “We are one – we live or die together.”  He made it clear that he was in command, but he was always open to others’ opinions and asked for input and suggestions.  He led open discussions each evening and helped build social bonds among the men.  He stressed courtesy and mutual respect.  Everyone, including Shackleton, worked side-by-side and performed chores.

Shackleton defused anger.  He wisely handled power struggles and dissidents before they could take hold, even sharing his tent with the potentially biggest dissenter.  He had to alter short-term objectives and keep the men’s energy on these objectives while never losing focus of the long-term goals.  He found ways to lighten things up with humor and made sure there were always little successes to celebrate.  His methods and actions eliminated what could have been devastating anxiety and despair among the men.

In the end, he knew that survival depended on a bold act, literally a do-or-die act, which was the attempt to reach an outpost by crossing 800 miles of tempestuous seas in an open boat.  He took the chance.  As a result, all 28 men not only survived, but also became the epitome of the rewards that can come from belief, creativity, and 212° perseverance.  (An excerpt from the book “212° – the extra degree.”)

So don’t give up – parent your children one stage at a time with great perseverance.  And if you do, when you are finished and your children have left the home, you will be able to look back with joy on the race you ran as a parent.

Thoughts and Scriptures on Perseverance

Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you fail to focus on the Lord.  

The race does not always belong to the swift, but to those who keep running.

God promises a safe landing, not a calm passage.

Philippians 3: 12-14   12 Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.  13 Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead,  14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Romans 5:3-5   3 And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance;  4 and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; 5 and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

Proverbs 24: 16-18   16 For a righteous man falls seven times, and rises again, but the wicked stumble in time of calamity. 17 Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles; 18 or the Lord will see it and be displeased, and turn His anger away from him.

Psalm 37: 3-7; 23-25 3 Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness. 4 Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart. 5 Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He will do it. 6 He will bring forth your righteousness as the light and your judgment as the noonday.  7 Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him; 23 The steps of a man are established by the Lord, and He delights in his way.  24 When he falls, he will not be hurled headlong, because the Lord is the One who holds his hand.  25 I have been young and now I am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken.