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June 2006 Character Quality -- Endurance
the following editorial article was written by Gloria Cooper for publication in The Paris News --
The starting gun fired and the race was on.  Exceptional runners from all over the country dashed
down the track, fighting for every inch of ground.  Suddenly, one of the runners on the outside
tripped and fell outside the track, rolling to a stop.  As he gazed in disbelief at the sudden turn of
events, something deep with in him prompted him to continue the race.  Now it was the spectators’
turn to gaze in disbelief as he rose to his feet and began overtaking the runners one by one.  The
race nearly over, he continued pounding down the track at an unbelievable speed in an attempt
to pass his final competitor.  With one final burst of energy, he sailed past him to win the race in
first place.  This man went on to win the Olympic gold medal despite criticism, physical problems
that very few people knew about, and other hindrances.  His name was Eric Liddell. That name is
still famous today, not because of that extraordinary race in Scotland or the Olympic races in
Paris, but because of the qualities that he showed in those races – the qualities of endurance,
perseverance, and faith.  These were qualities he demonstrated every day in every
circumstance.  He went on to run the race of life as a missionary in China, and he finished his
race in a Japanese concentration camp near the end of World War II, enduring until the end.

Every one of us has some sort of race to run and win.  Whether it is a race against time to make
an important deadline or to accomplish a personal goal, each of us must have the inner stamina
and endurance to finish what we endeavored to do.  Endurance is the inward strength to
withstand stress and accomplish my best.  It is continuing to press on to higher goals when we
know that continuing on is the only right course to take.  

Without a vision, the people perish, and without hope, a dream will never become a reality.  
Confidence in our goals gives us a reason to persevere and endure.  Once you have a goal, cling
to it with dogged persistence until it you reach it.  Working toward your goal will not always be
easy.  Sometimes doubt about the chosen course will lead to discouragement when the way gets
rough.  When this happens, it seems easy to lose sight of the ‘finish line.’  This is where the real
test of endurance comes in.  

When things seem impossible, we need to look deep inside ourselves and discover how much we
really want to succeed.  Every undertaking requires its own amount of endurance.

“Do not pray for tasks equal to your strength, but for strength equal to your tasks”
                                              ~ Phillips Brooks

“Success seems to be largely a matter of hanging on after others have let go.”
                                              ~ George Burnham  

The men who coined these phrases understood the importance of pressing on until the job is
complete.  They did not give up nor did they allow discouragement to overcome them.  We too
can endure by looking at circumstances one step at a time and keeping our eyes on the goal.  As
we endure, we should do so joyfully.  Everything that we have to work for will be worth it when we
are through.
Portions of this article have been adapted from Character First! material.  For more information about the
Character First! program and resources contact:  Character Training Institute, 520 W. Main Street, Oklahoma
City, OK  73102,  (405) 815-0001. Visit the Character Council of Red River Valley at
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