Building Bricks Of Strong Character

My Wade Swimming The Breaststroke

I know that I spend a lot of time on this blog discussing my family.  I love my family as a unit and as individuals.  Each one of my children is a unique creation that I find challenging and fascinating to relate to on an everyday basis.  I have always been dumbfounded by the fact that even with four children from the same mother and father they are all so very different in their personalities and their way of handling life’s situations.

My son Wade, third in the birth order gave me a glimpse into his true character this past weekend that I felt was worth sharing.  I preface this story by letting you know a few key things about Wade and his general mode of operation.  He has an extensive imagination that constantly amazes me.  He can build anything out of nothing just by visualizing it in his head.  His faith in God is pure and childlike and he believes that God is ever-present and at the ready whenever he goes to him in prayer.  He is bold, forthright and genuine.  Sometimes, despite all of his wonderful qualities, he can lack self motivation.  He tends to be more incentive driven.  Yet this weekend, he changed my mind a bit.

I believe with all of my heart that developing strong character in our children is primary and relates directly with the consistency of their faith.  Of all the things we as parents struggle to impart to our children, faith and character will keep them alive in the dog eat dog world of today.  Wade crossed a milestone this weekend that made me delighted to be his mom.

My three older children are competitive swimmers.  I spend a large part of everyday of my life as a mother driving to and from the swimming pool.  My Wade has been swimming for two long years an average of 7500 yards per week and for the first time, qualified for finals.  My  man of the north and I made sure to make him aware of how proud we were for his effort and accomplishment.  My other two children have seen more success sooner and Wade has gone to practice day in and day out with very little reward.  “THIS WAS HIS WEEKEND.”  Then….. the unthinkable happened.  The night before his meet he got terribly sick with a flu-like cold.

Devastated for him, I made it clear to him that if he was unable to compete we as his parents were in full support.  His only statement to me, through the mucous ridden, droopy eyed, feverish condition was, “I’m goin’ mom.”  I anticipated his condition to be worse by morning but, nonetheless, sent him to bed and prayed for a miracle. Morning came with no relief in the cold and no less determination from Wade to participate in his meet.  I remember asking again and again, “Are you sure,” doing my best to give him permission to bow out.  No Deal.

I decided then, to go on the offense and do my best to relieve all the symptoms I could for him.  Then, I packed the car, the lunch, the other kids and the husband and off we went.  In an effort to wrap this story up, I will just tell you that Wade swam every race he was entered in.  He finished them all, with no significant improvement in his times, but he finished.  Exhausted, disappointed and sick, he wrapped up his day and we headed home.

But this is the thing.  Wade decided not to quit.  He knew going in that his performance would probably be sub par due to his sickness.  He swam anyway!  This is more than any mom could hope for. I got the chance to see right into the essence of his character and I was uplifted by what was there.  It was in that moment that I made sure to encourage him for his fortitude and committment and I reminded him that for those who don’t quit, that stick to it no matter what,  there is great reward.

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