My Dad and brothers are five people in my life who I hold with the greatest admiration. They are men like the warriors of the Old Testament: strong, confident, wise, courageous, energetic, athletic, talented, responsible, enthusiastic... the list goes on. However one of the greatest things I respect and admire in them, is their "get up and go".
I don't know if this is a phrase often used - or at the least, understood - by some of you, so I will give my own definition of it here:
"Get Up and Go" - (n) The keen desire to give your all - physically, spiritually and mentally to any given task or challenge set before you. To not back down or shy away from something that you might fail at. The hunger for a challenge and the enthusiasm for trying something new regardless of the odds. A competitive spirit. The urge to be found useful and to be used to full capacity in any situation you could possible be found useful in. To exhibit strength and vigor in every opportunity for industriousness.
That is a rather lengthy definition, and it probably doesn't even fully encompass the term to my satisfaction. This is a trait I constantly see practiced in the lives of my Dad and brothers. Whether it is a game of ping-pong, an arm wrestle, chopping wood, changing the oil in a car, mending a fence, racing go-karts, football or computer gaming, my brothers give everything their all and hold nothing back. In all this, I place a high regard on their physical strength that allows them to be a blessing to people. If they did not have the get up and go to keep themselves fit and active, could they have helped an elderly couple push their awkwardly parked caravan trailer off a pole in a parking lot? I doubt it.
Having said this, I am not dissing the intellectual world in favor of brutal physical prowess. Not at all. To be educated in different fields is also a blessing, and without people of knowledge in such areas, the conveniences and enlightening truths of the world we live in today would not exist. Yet, often in times I find myself noticing the young men in malls or down the street with earphones in, talking on the phone, texting or using some other such digital device who appear to be so much softer; lacking the luster and vigor I am accustomed to seeing in my brothers. It seems that so much of the get up and go; the keenness, toughness and fervor for life that young men once had has slowly waned and vanished. Has "get up and go" got up and left? Is passive intellectuality and love of technology replacing active practicality and vigorous industriousness?
Granted, not everyone has the opportunities to practice their get up and go to the extent my brothers do. I and my brothers recognize the blessing our family has when it comes to where we live and what our lifestyle is like. My brothers have ample opportunity, materials and tools with which to pour their vigor into. (building homemade rockets, bike jumps, explosions, models, etc. the list is endless) However does this lack of opportunity a lot of people have mean that things such as technology are the only option for enthusiasm? I beg to differ.
Just because one might not have wood to chop in order to stay fit, doesn't mean that one cannot get exercise. Just because one might not have the availability of a car to change the oil in, does not mean one cannot learn how to do it. Just because one might not have all the tools, doesn't mean that they cannot learn on the job how to mend a tap or lightly renovate a room. In every young man's life there will arise opportunities for them to use their get up and go, and I believe regardless of their background and/or education, they should be ready and willing to have such a go whenever an opportunity presents itself. Even up till such a time, there are so many practical things that can be learnt from right where they are!
Of course, I am speaking from a young woman's point of view, so much of my argument is one sided and largely differs from that of most young men. However, this is still a topic I feel very strongly about because in a way, it does directly apply to me. As a young woman who desires to marry and help raise a family someday, "get up and go" is a vital point I not only desire, but actually need in a husband. If my car breaks down on the side of the road, I don't want to have to call a mechanic before calling my husband. When I can't work out the problem with my washing machine, I don't want my husband to be standing there scratching his head with me. If a water main blows, I would prefer not to be the only one standing in the paddock holding the shovel. if floor boards start pulling up, a curtain rod comes down, a roof tile breaks or a door falls off, I don't want to be the one left holding the hammer.
"But you are being unreasonable!" you might say. "You are expecting the impossible of someone!"
Am I? I'm not. See, I know someone just like this.
He is married to my Mum.
My Dad can do anything (at least, as far as I know) and my brothers come a close second. My Dad has made us a swingset, a see-saw, a cubby house, and built us a swimming pool that usually takes a paid contractor to build. Dad has fixed our leaking plumbing, our burst water pipes, broken washing machines, fridges, tank water pumps, animal troughs, and almost every other water related mishap. He has fixed broken doors, sliding door runners, cupboards, bed frames, window screens and even made some of the tools with which he fixed all of the above. He has climbed to the top of a palm tree to cut off the seed pods (after putting the extension ladder on the roof fully extended), he has wrestled calves to the ground, milked cows, rode bronco crazed horses, plowed fields, tore out stumps, mended roofs, lifted heavy furniture, cleaned the inside of water tanks, dug ditches, 4WD the most hazardous places, built chicken houses, fixed our car in dire situations, and many other such things. The list is still being populated as we speak... (Dad and the boys removed a fallen tree from our holiday house fence line, tore away all the debris, trimmed back the stump and repaired the fence two days ago.)
My Dad also has the courage to see us through difficult situations and has the fortitude to stay strong for us when we need him. Whether it is the shaky days after hearing bad news, or the self control to stay focused and calm when someone is injured and/or bleeding, this kind of strength, vigor and get up and go is something that has saved my family time and time again; a priceless trait that I doubt I could live without in my own family sometime down the track.
This is not to excuse my own abilities and learning. I think it is important for young women to have a basic grasp of the practical side of living as well, for you never know when such knowledge may come in handy. However as the chief breadwinner, a man's duty is to know these things as well as, if not (preferably) better than their wives.
Not too long ago I went camping with my brothers at a new friends' place. They had about thirty young adults there, and more than half of them were young men. When we went four-wheel-driving up into the mountains, one of the trucks stopped because something went wrong with the clutch. Our host decided that everyone who didn't know anything about cars should continue on foot, and those who might be able to help should stay behind. Besides my two brothers, only our host stayed behind. Imagine my dismay when I heard about six of the young men exclaiming they knew nothing about cars as if it were a joke.
Imagine the pride I had in my brothers as they began pointing out the problem.
My purpose here is not to be critical of those who have developed talents in non-physical areas. I know many very talented young men who have great intellectual skills that I admire and have gained a great many insights from. My purpose is not to condemn or belittle, but to awaken an awareness for how much the world needs and relies on those who have, not just a piece of paper that claims an ability or knowledge, but the credentials of calloused hands and bright eyes that say a whole lot more than any resumé ever could. These are credentials that speak of keenness, vigor, a desire to learn and a desire to serve even at the risk of failing. The resumé of a hard worker is in his hands; hands that know how to serve God and man with wholeheartedness and strength.
Thomas Edison was known to have said, "Opportunity is missed by most people because it's dressed in overalls and looks like work". How right he was. The fact is, opportunity is work, and unless you are dressed and equipped for it, you will miss it altogether.
This is not a challenge, but you could take it as one. Are you the kind of person upon seeing someone's car stuck, would get up out of your comfort zone and help them push? Do you ring the mechanic before picking up a manual? Do you have to? Or could you do something different and learn a practicality? These things once learnt are never forgotten. And what practical talents you learn, may well shape your life and the lives around you for many years to come.
In closing, I pray that this post encouraged you to be strong and inspires you to have a vigorous fervor for all that the Lord has called you to do. May your God-given "get up and go" never get up and leave, but continue getting back up and forever keep on going!