“GO OUTSIDE AND WRESTLE!”
When I was a kid my older brothers and I would occasionally wrestle in the family room or living room. Most of the time it was just playful scuffles. I suppose my brothers may have scrapped it up with a little more aggressiveness now and then. But it was always fun, and crazy, and exhausting. But without fail, if our dad was home at the time, before any of our wrestling matches could ever finish, we’d hear the rise of his voice from wherever he was, “You kids go outside and wrestle!” And sometimes we’d actually follow through with his wishes and go outside to grapple on. I remember once we were all outside eating dinner on our patio, and the wrestling began. My dad, without even hesitating, said “You kids go inside and wrestle!” 🙂
I have teenage boys that frequently wrestle in our living room. Sometimes I join in. (I used to beat them handily. Now it’s purely a game of survival for me. Literally!)
Wrestling. If you allow it, it’s a good thing. Yes, I know the dangers. Our lamps and end tables show the scars wrestling. But it’s fun. It builds strength. It builds character. It’s strange family bonding, I’ll admit. But it’s good to wrestle.
I think in terms of life, wrestling is also good. We’ve got to wrestle with issues in order to know where we really stand. We’ve got to wrestle through relationships, academics, future plans, social issues, and spiritual matters. If we don’t wrestle, if the answers to life’s questions are all handed to us, if we don’t grapple with stress or failure or discouragement, we build no firm foundation for ourselves. We don’t learn things like patience, perseverance, faith, hard work, personal fortitude, coping, decision making, etc. These are life skills. These are life character traits that we all need to survive and thrive in this tough world.
You know, some families outlaw wrestling in their homes and I can respect that. There are certainly consequences to rough-housing. But some people outlaw the privilege of letting others in their midst wrestle through hard stuff. What a disservice. From my perspective, it doesn’t take very long to spot the “silver platter people” or the “I’ve-always-had-a-rescuer-so-come-and-rescue-me” people. You can just tell they’ve never wrestled. Bless ‘em!
When I was a student at Oklahoma State University I took Anatomy & Physiology with John Smith. He sat right next to me when he wasn’t off winning national or international wrestling awards. John is a two-time Olympic Gold Medalist. In 1996, he was named one of the 100 Greatest Olympians of All Time. He now coaches wrestling at OSU. He said, “A lotta times…you gotta win ugly.”
You see, life isn’t all wrapped up in a pretty little package. God is not a “silver platter” or “spoon-feed” God. We’re gonna have struggles. We’re gonna have stress. We’re gonna have to wrestle. And yes…sometimes we even have to wrestle with God.
Hit the mat. Scrap it up. Wrestling is good.
So…if you or someone in your life is grappling with a tough issue, let me give you some words of wisdom borrowed from my Pops: “Go outside and wrestle!”