Dads enjoy challenges and obstacles. They take them head-on.
Can we just start with a bunch of Winston Churchill quotes?
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”
“Never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never—in nothing, great or small, large or petty—never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense.”
“If you’re going through hell, keep going.”
Challenges and obstacles are a byproduct of having children, being married, and having a pulse.
These three things individually and combined will present you with mind-boggling frustration, fear, paranoia, possible paralysis, and a potential crisis of faith.
Listen, dads, it’s going to happen and there is nothing you can do to stop it. It’s a freight train heading your way, but it’s only scary if you’re unprepared. Also, it’s scary if you are prepared. Life isn’t easy. Life is not fair. You know it, I know it, Winston knows it, and your kids will know it. Because you’re a good dad and you are raising them well, which means not always sheltering them from the tough things.
You’ve really only had one option: accept reality and know how to handle challenges, difficulties, and obstacles in life. Turn tough times into opportunities to prove how good you are. You can’t bury your head or run away all the time. You have to be able to face real life. Set the example for yer kin and show them rascals how a man accepts the challenges life throws his way. He takes them head on, comes out the other side with his head held high and chest beaming with pride regardless of the outcome. (I’m sorry I saw an episode of Justified last night and the Kentucky twang is in my head.)
I teach my boys to have the heart of a champion and always keep their heads up. We are proud of the work and efforts they put forth. Winning is a great feeling, but giving every effort is the final measure of success. Also, let’s add in how much the odds of winning increase as the efforts improve.
Winning is not the measure of a great man. Failure is going to happen. For some, it’s going to happen a lot. It’s not fun, but it’s not a bad thing. Failure just means you’re pushing past your comfort zone and pushing the envelope. If you don’t fail at least a little bit, I’m going to accuse you of being complacent, mediocre, or any other word that might insult you enough to try something harder. As a dad, I won’t show my kids how to be crushed by failures. I will only show them how to persevere in the face of failure.
I was an athlete. I’m raising my kids in athletics because I genuinely like what opportunities athletics gives us to teach kids. Athletes view competition as a good thing and it brings out the best in people. It is fun for all participants; win, lose, or draw. There is a special feeling we get going head to head with another individual or team. The planning, preparation, and execution instills discipline, character, morals, and drive. Competition keeps us pushing forward. Even as a country, some of our greatest successes were the result of intense competition, both at home and with other nations. Industry, space, and technology, have all benefited greatly from intense competition. ‘Merica.
In athletics, failure is normal. Challenges are normal. Obstacles are normal. Athletes learn how to handle it, and we don’t quit when it’s hard. Besides, success doesn’t come easily to anyone, even the greatest of athletes train and practice, pushing their bodies past their comfort zones. They have to overcome injuries, mental barriers, and personal issues as well. It’s easy to quit and to remain passive. That is where the great ones separate themselves from the talented ones. Whether it’s a physical challenge, at work, at home, or within yourself. It doesn’t matter. Dads do not quit. Quitting is not an option for Russells.
A huge part of perseverance is belief. The belief that you can do anything you set your mind to. If you focus on something, believe it will happen, take action to make it happen, and pray every day to make it happen, then you can literally will it to happen. God will help, but you have to do actual work. Belief is an action verb, after all (see James 2:17 in the Bible for more).
I’ve talked before about pride being my greatest weakness. We should never be too proud to seek help. Nothing a man does was done on his own. Nothing I have done was done alone. I’ve had influences and motivation from others every step of the way.
Darkness can work its way into our hearts and souls. In our darkest times, we must remember our greatest days are still ahead of us. Remain positive and optimistic no matter our current circumstances. It’s okay to lean on your family sometimes just like it’s okay for them to lean on you in times of need.
Dads come in all different shapes and sizes. We also come from different personalities and backgrounds. Some of us are naturally more aggressive go-getters, others are naturally reserved and passive, some are detail-oriented planners, some prefer to shoot, ready, aim.
The strategy of what goals to pursue and how to pursue them is irrelevant. We can all be successful in many different ways. All that matters is that we execute. We push forward. How we specifically go forward is less important, provided it is with integrity. Putting one foot in front of the other is important. The pace and tactics are secondary.
Dads, I know it’s more fun to talk about roses, sunshine, and unicorns. But you’re going to have to deal with a lot of crap. You already have, I can see it on your eyes. So be ready, and show the kids how it is done.
Feel free to submit stories and thoughts to Townsend@TownsendRussell.com and of course Find us everywhere:
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I’m Townsend Russell with 100% Dad – The Dad Group
Were preaching over here for Dads to step up, be real men, and real leaders of their homes.