Words by: Randell D. Turner, Ph.D.  |  Author and Counselor  |  United States  |  TransformingFamilies.org

Artwork & video by: Mia Setyawan  |  Uplift Generation

My father taught himself to play the guitar. Day after day he played the same songs, which was a little annoying, but in the end, he became quite good. But during those first few months, his fingers ached until calluses developed to protect his fingertips. Once calluses formed, he enjoyed playing more, spending hours playing, singing, and even writing songs. None of which would have happened, if he didn’t willingly go through the pain of developing calluses.

The same is true for Olympic gymnasts, years of perseverance and practice has resulted in callused hands. So much so that many don’t like to shake your hand because they’re so rough.


So, it is for many workers such as farmers, construction workers, tennis players, rodeo riders, baseball catchers and pole-vaulters to name a few. Each intentionally and knowingly persisted through the pain until calluses formed, making the work easier and more enjoyable. Because life is difficult, we all could benefit from developing a few calluses.

“Calluses are the outward sign of your inner character traits. Traits such as courage, self-discipline, sacrifice, perseverance, patience, and resilience enabled you to persist in accomplishing your goal despite the difficulty.” Randell D. Turner

This kind resilient character doesn’t develop without experiencing struggle, resistance, disappointment, and quite often pain. Resilient character cannot be developed any other way. However once developed, it equips you to aspire toward even greater accomplishments.

Living a life that attempts to ignore or avoid struggle, resistance, disappointment, and pain only makes you feel weak and insecure. With no life experience in dealing with difficulty or pain successfully, you resist or run away from situations that require resilience, resulting in living a less fulfilling life.

So how can you change this? If so, how can a resilient character be developed? Yes you can change this and it can only be developed, no one is born with a resilient character.

Here are some recommended ways to discover and develop resiliency in you and the lives of your loved ones:

  • Accept that developing resilience will cause you discomfort and sometimes pain. By learning to accept the discomfort and pain as part of the process, you develop resilience. For example, bullies. You or your child will likely encounter difficult person in the workplace or a bully at school. Bullying is wrong, but unfortunately, it’s also a reality. Therefore, resilient parents prepare their children for dealing with difficult people, like bullies. Thereby equipping them for the realities of life instead of just hoping for the best.
  • Seek out information, help and support from supportive friends or family member that you admire for their resilient spirit. They’ve had to deal with difficult people or bullies a time or two. Their experience and encouragement will help you to persevere and stick with it.
  • Start simply and slowly; like calluses nothing worthwhile is developed overnight. The key is consistency. It will take time, often more than you planned but worth it in the end.
  • Accept that you may fail before you succeed, but don’t quit. Persistence is the key to developing a resilient character.
  • Practice is required. As the saying goes; “perfect practice makes perfect”. Therefore, I recommend that you enlist someone to help you practice dealing with difficult people. And help your children practice dealing with bullies so that both are better prepared.
  • Remember resilience can be learned and/or taught to anyone at any age.

Whether it’s learning to play the guitar, dealing with difficult people or ride a bucking bull at the rodeo, each will require resilient heart. And perhaps a few calluses.

Be mindful that “What comes easy won’t last and what lasts won’t come easy”. But it will be worth it in the end.

One final note, my father wrote, played and recorded a CD of original music before he passed away. Because of his persistence, his children and grandchildren continue to enjoy the music he loved.


About Randell D. Turner, Ph.D.
United States

Randell Turner, Ph.D. is an author, counselor, and a pioneer in the men’s & fatherhood movement. He has authored award-winning resources for National Center for Fathering, National Fatherhood Initiative, Prison Fellowship, and Fatherhood.gov. His most recent work includes two small group study guides: Transformational Life and Relationship Foundations.


Uplift Generation

We exist to empower children and youths around the world, through words and storytelling.

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