Overcoming adversity

Ashley Thaba

Recently on Facebook, a childhood friend posted a “brag mom post”. Accompanied by a senior photo of her son, these words were written: “He will finish high school a year early with a 4.4565 GPA and 28 hours of college credit. (In America, 4.0 is the highest GPA. However, when you take University courses, they add points to your overall average, so he has made higher than what is possible by taking University courses alongside high school courses). We are proud of him for this, but prouder of the young man he is growing to be.

Ashley Thaba

Through this big smile I also see the adversity he has faced lately. We haven’t shared much of his struggles publicly. I think it is important though to share the adversity so God gets the glory for any accomplishments he may have. Garrison had a major injury in a wrestling tournament a few years ago. That led to a spinal injury and shoulder injury, months of PT, surgery, more PT, the news of no more contact sports ever — a hard pill to swallow. But for the past nine months Garrison has been sick. It started on August 4 with what seemed like a normal stomach bug.

That virus led to more sickness, countless doctors and tests, hospital visits, medications, losing 20 lbs, not eating solid food for 10 weeks, took us to Mayo Clinic in MN, and still today, nine months later, he is being treated and is working on full healing which could take up to a year.

Even in that, he kept up with classes, his teachers never knowing he was turning in work from a Mayo clinic waiting room or postponing the SAT because he was admitted in the hospital. So yes, we are proud of his accomplishments, but prouder of how he has persevered through adversity.”

As I read this, I thought to myself how rare that kind of work ethic is. Moreover, I was thinking how we complain about the inefficiency of government workers or the poor customer service. It all boils down to each individual being okay delivering subpar service to others.

Garrison’s testimony shows it isn’t about the problems you face or the obstacles you have to face to do your job. Ultimately, anyone can do almost anything despite the challenges if they are determined to do a good job!

Furthermore, as I read this, I began to self-introspect. Would my own children be able to perform well under pressure? Are they self-driven to do a good job even when it is hard? We all would love kids like this, but they don’t magically turn out like this. We have to raise them to instill these values in them. Imagine if each one of us were to be intentional about raising children who finished the job even if it was hard. Imagine if each one of us modeled to our children in every word we spoke that if we said we were going to do something, we would always keep our word. Imagine if we did our best no matter how big or small the job.

If each of us raised our children like this, we could actually change the future work ethic and customer service of our nation. Ultimately, we could change the entire future of our nation! It may seem like a daunting task, but one child by one child who becomes one worker or one boss will make a measurable difference.

I wrote my friend and asked her the secret. Her answer encouraged me and I hope it will encourage you. “We have always done family devotions every night and have changed them up over the years. Themed weeks (like fruit of the spirit week), kid led, from a devotion book, listened to a book on audible, now we are walking through psalm a chapter a night. Just casually. We pray for and with each other. We find opportunities to serve together. Neighbors, widows, families. We of course make church a priority and encourage them to serve using their own gifts, not just because we make them. We have taken them on mission trips to serve together, taking them to an uncomfortable place was good for stretching them. Now that they are teens and tweens we can’t make them do their own devotions and time with the Lord, but we encourage and ask at least once a week, “what is the Lord teaching you?”

By reading her answer, we can see it is not an accident that Garrison turned out like this. They had been building up their children from a young age to work hard, serve the Lord ultimately, and think about how to be a blessing to those around them. May God give you the wisdom to raise your children to be a blessing to you and ultimately our nations.