He had at least one learning disability. It didn’t matter what language he used, Spanish (which he spoke at home) or English, he mixed up words when he read. It was a disability his father also had and self-trained himself to handle, though the father worked into his adult years to do it. For the son, it took several years to get the public school system to acknowledge that he needed to be tested, despite repeated pleas from his teachers who saw a hard-working, enthusiastic kid who wanted to do well but obviously had an issue. Despite the difficulty, despite the lack of engagement from school administration, despite the lack of proper help, the young man never quit trying and he never got down. He was determined to do what other kids his age did. He wouldn’t use his learning disability as an excuse.
I had him in one of my children’s ministries. One of our programs required a lot of Scripture memorization. For someone who would interchange words upon reading, this was probably the hardest programs in existence for him. But every week he was there, having worked hard all week and he’d work harder than anyone else in the room. While other children his age with no learning disability were not finishing their books for the year, he was pushing ahead. He wouldn’t give up. And he wouldn’t get down. He would just keep trying, keep fighting his learning disability, and he would win. He finished that book.
All the leaders in the program celebrated that night. We were big fans. We saw a kid who wouldn’t settle for less because of a setback in life. We saw a kid who wouldn’t be defined by his learning disability. We saw a kid who was a fighter. And we saw this kid come joyfully every Wednesday night and give it his all. If he didn’t get the Bible verse right, he just worked harder. He never got down, he never stopped smiling, and he definitely never quit.
How’s your determination? Do you have a story like this young man? Determination means you keep putting one foot in front of the other even when you’re dog-tired and needing a break. It means you don’t give up on your goals and dreams because of a setback. If they are important to you, you just get back to work, determined to do better the next time. Sometimes this means re-thinking your approach. Sometimes it means putting more into it. Sometimes it means ignoring the naysayers and pushing forward regardless of the doubt. Without determination, harder goals are impossible. Without determination, big change won’t happen. Find your determination. For a lot of what I do the girl pictured here and her siblings, my children, are one of several sources for my determination. Who or what is yours?