A gem cannot be polished without friction, nor a man perfected without trials. – Seneca

We grow through challenges. It is a fundamental principle. If we want to grow in any particular area, we have to be challenged. If we are not, we are not going to grow.

If someone wants to be physically fit, they could work out with weights. What in essence are they doing? They are stressing their muscle fibers. That stress causes the muscles to break down. Eventually, after rest and recovery, the stress and breakdown result in more muscle. The same process applies to someone who wants to be a mathematician. They need continuously challenge themselves to master higher and higher levels of math. It is the same with someone who wants to be the most knowledgeable historian. They need to constantly challenge themselves.

How does this apply to parenting? All parents want their children to be better than them. How can we raise our children to be better than us? We help them overcome whatever challenges they have. Because we are there, we can help mentor them through that process so they are victorious. They can come out on the other end with a victory. Not only do they gain greater confidence in themselves; it also means they are growing on every level.

If we can digest and overcome the challenges of life, those same challenges can make us stronger and better overall. That is why an important tradition and standard for our families is to not make excuses. No matter how difficult something may appear to be, do not make excuses. We have the strength to overcome. Overcome, learn and grow.

You will notice that people who are very accomplished and who have exceeded the standards of most other people tend to be people with a very difficult past.

God teaches us through challenges if only we have the strength to overcome them. God moves in mysterious ways, and it is the challenges that we face that push us more and more towards God.

If we want to be good parents, we need to prepare our children for the challenges they will inevitably face. There will always be challenges in our lives and we should hold the view that we do not grow without them.