There is a good way to be stubborn

Published 6:10 am Wednesday, November 8, 2023

By Les Ferguson, Jr.

Stubborn, hard headed, and obstinate are all words used about me in the past.

I heard them a lot in school — particularly in the elementary grades. I do recall one teacher in high school who had a habit of viewing me that way. I’m sure I did nothing to cause her the look of utter frustration often sent my way.

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I’ll save some of those stories for another day. But back to being stubborn, hard headed, and obstinate. Long before the teachers saw it, my parents did.

For the most part, I was a good boy in my childhood. Outside of talking too much in class, I didn’t get in much trouble. But if I got something in my head or I thought something was unfair, I was hard-pressed to let it go.

Like a lot of kids, I was prone to utter the infamous words, “That’s not fair” quickly and often. What qualifies as unfair? Pretty much anything I didn’t like or want.

And no time was that uttered more quickly than when I was in trouble for some seemingly minor infraction.

Case in point. Front yard football. Archie was in the game and he (me) supposedly hit my little brother too hard. Or something silly like that. I don’t remember everything that took place, but I do remember my dad’s solution. He pulled us out of the game and had us sit on the curb and hold hands.

It was mortifying. I don’t know why mom didn’t get her Neanderthal husband under control. But there we were, my brother and I, holding hands — ostensibly to make us treat each other better. But it didn’t work. 

And because I thought it unfair, I muttered life-ending threats to my brother. And he, being a pansy, told on me every time. Which then resulted in holding hands for longer. A vicious cycle to be sure.

I’ve spent a lifetime learning hard lessons and some I’m still learning. And stubbornness? It can be a hard battle for me, but one God is winning on my behalf.

Is there a place for stubbornness in our lives? Not about failures, flaws, and faults. Not about pushing our viewpoints or wants and riding roughshod over others.

But here is how I want to be stubborn. I want to be stubborn in loving and enduring the unlovable. I want to be stubborn in holding out the value of others. I want to be stubborn in sharing the hope of Jesus to a world angry and hurt more often than not.

“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13 CSB)

Blessings to all!