This I Believe

David - Knoxville, Tennessee
Entered on August 25, 2006
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: family, work

I believe there is holiness in never giving up.

To say the least, raising our son was a challenge. It seemed that whatever his mother and I thought was the right direction for him, he was determined to go the other way. If we said smoking was bad, then – be assured – he was going to try it. The same was true of most vices. He challenged our notions about parenting and faith. We tried to do all the right things – church involvement, youth sports, lots of talk about the dangers of smoking, drinking and drugs. We emphasized the importance of good friends. Still, he pushed the limits a far as he could. If we said right, he would go left.

During these years I was plagued by a question. Where did my faith fit into all of this? I believe the rain falls on the just and unjust, but this is ridiculous. If faith has any value at all, surely it should play a part in the efforts of good parents and help keep a child on the right path. My belief did not match my reality.

One night, his behavior caught up with him and he was ready to leave home. I took him by the shoulders, looked him square in the eye and said, “Don’t leave. This is not the end of the world. We can work this out. We love you. Please stay.”

He stayed.

My question was beginning to be answered. Parental faith means never giving up! Never giving up is grace; grace is a gift of God and gifts from God are holy. Perseverance ushers grace into relationships. When I think about my own life in relationship to God, I realize that the grace God offers to me is the same grace I have tried to offer my son all his life.

Our son, now a young adult, has moved to another town to train. He’s in training to be an automotive technician. Just as we did during his adolescence, my wife and I fully support him. He has grown up some. We are beginning to see in his life some of the values and faith we taught him as a child. He is coming into focus.

I saw that focus first-hand in his Father’s Day gift to me this year. It was an email. He wrote how he had always wanted to be like me. He said that he finds himself doing things without knowing why. He said he thinks it was because he had seen me do them when he was a child. He said he is grateful for how we have always been there and had never given up. I was crying and reading, and beginning to see more clearly than before that perseverance is holy.

This I believe, hanging in and hanging on are holy.