We spent the last week building an ice rink in our backyard. Yep, you read that right, an ice rink. The big Christmas present for this year is a backyard ice rink. As most of you know, my youngest daughter plays ice hockey (wait, time for a mommy brag -- she scored her first ever goal last week). One of the little boys on her team has a backyard rink, and it sounded so simple when they told us about it.

Make a PVC pipe frame, attach a liner, add water and let it freeze. Boom, you've got an ice rink. Yeah, except it's not that easy. We started this project the Sunday before Christmas. We skated on it for the first time yesterday morning. In between last Sunday and yesterday, we ripped three liners, watered ours and the neighbors yards with hundreds of gallons of water at least four times, redesigned the frame three times and moved the entire rink once. Five straight nights (because the liner never failed during the daylight) we were out in the dark and the cold trying to get the rink to work.

After the first two tries, we were ready to throw in the towel. We said we'd give it one more try. Well, after the third try, we got on our stubborn hats and refused to let our unlevel yard beat us. Talk about detrmination. My husband was determined that this was going to work. Despite the frustration and agony of having the rink almost full of water, only to break and flood the yard, he kept working away. Our rink was prayed over every night at the dinner table -- the prayer usually went something like this, "Please, God, let our rink not rip, fall over or break in any other way."

I tell you this story not just to confirm the fact that we're crazy people but to make a point about determination. We were determined not to let this ice rink project beat us, but so often in our lives when we're faced with an obstacle, a temptation or a problem, we're not willing to stick it out. We look for the easy solution or we give up entirely. That's not an attitude that we want to have or that we want for our kids to have.

At some point in our lives, it's going to be tough to hang onto our faith. If we've never learned to be determined in our defense of our faith, then it's going to be easy to walk away from God. God is God in the good times and the bad, but we have to be determined to stick with Him through the tough stuff. Determination in our faith lets us hold onto God's promises even when we can't see them in our own lives. Psalm 145:13 says "The Lord is trustworthy in all he promises and faithful in all he does." Being determined in our faith, lets us believe that even when we feel abandoned.

Teach your kids to work through their problems. Teach them to stick with a problem even when it seems like there are no good answers. Model these actions for them.

  • The next time your child is faced with a tough situation or problem, work out possible solutions with them. Be determined to see the situation through. Talk about how determination helps us to know that God is with us in the tough stuff. If we are determined to believe in God's promises and rely on our faith in who He is, then no one can take that from us.
  • Give your kids a problem to solve -- a hidden object to find, a difficult puzzle to put together. Make it difficult. Let them work at it for a while. If they start to get discouraged, talk about the importance of determination. Talk about how important it us for us to be determined in our faith. If we're not, then people can lead us astray with very little effort.

Determination is an important quality for kids to understand and put into practice. So, even when the water is leaking out of the liner, teach your kids to be determined to hold onto God's promises.