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When Life Hits You Hard ...

Updated: Sep 13, 2021

There are times when life hits you hard. Everything seems to go bad within a short amount of time.

All of a sudden you have a $3000 dental bill, you’re accused at work for something you didn't do, you lose your job, your car breaks down, the credit card gets racked up too high, and to top it off, your government insists that you practice social isolation because of a worldwide pandemic.

My Dad always said, "When it rains, it storms."

Gratitude doesn't solve my problems. But it does change my perspective, my attitude, my response, and it leads me to prayer.

Sometimes as fathers we make decisions we regret. Sometimes we make hard decisions in our careers and these hard decisions affect the whole family and lead to harder times. Perhaps harder than expected. Sometimes we want so much for our children in this land of opportunity, but we just can't afford it, or we go into debt to give it to them anyway.

There are times when we come home exhausted, yet we are asked to help with supper, asked to help clean up, do the bedtime routines, and then shovel the walk. It is 9:30pm before we get a chance to sit down.

There are times when we go to bed at night and what we really need is for our wives to connect with us, to affirm us, to be with us; but instead, we lash out because the weight of the responsibilities is so much and we just don't have the answers to our problems.

And we wonder, what the heck is going on ...

It is good for men to work and to bear the responsibility of using their skills to provide for, to protect, to lead, and to serve their families. But it's also good for men to pause. To pause and reflect about the changes that are happening. Life changes fast and unexpectedly.

Now, at home all the time while my workplace is shut down (as many of you can probably relate), I'm finding myself getting underfoot as my family continues on with their daily routines. Now, I am forced to learn to "work" for them in new ways. I'm taking part in their daytime chores, I help more with the homeschooling, and deal with the petty fights that occur between the children.

It is in times like these that we are formed. It is in these fires that our masculinity is forged. It hurts. It's confusing. Our insides reel, we don't sleep well, our eyes burn during the day and we are curt with our loved ones. And the fire purges.

The weight of responsibility in raising a family, providing for them, training them in virtue, educating them, and fathering them is great. Not a burden. But great. Add fire to the mix, a pandemic, and uncertainty, and a weak man could break. Many do.

What should a man's response be in these times?

It is easy to drown it in drinks. It feels good to speak negatively and expect the worst.

But, I think I'm learning that the answer is far simpler ...

My wife told me tonight that I need to stop and just give thanks. We have so much to be thankful for.

In the midst of this fire, give thanks.

Sometimes my wife is wiser than me. Well, maybe more than sometimes.

Gratitude doesn't solve my problems. But it does change my perspective, my attitude, my response, and it leads me to prayer.

It’s a good place to start.

Semper Fidelis,

Kenton E. Biffert


Kenton is a writer and speaker, and works at Our Lady Seat of Wisdom College as an adjunct professor and the Dean of Students. Together with his wife, they homeschool their 8 children, explore the wilds of Ontario in the canoe, and read voraciously. To learn more about the art of fatherhood, visit Kenton's personal page.

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