To my beloved children:

I’m not sure if you realize this or not, but my life and your mom’s life has not always been easy. While we have done our best to give each of you a quality and stable family life, the effort it has taken for us to do it has been well short of easy. In fact, it’s been hard and at times, it’s been real hard. But nonetheless, because our family is worth it, your mom and I have not been afraid to do the hard things in life in order to have the good things in life for our family.

For example, it was hard for your mom and I to get an education, buy cars, build houses, raise children, save for retirement, and consistently invest our ourselves today in order to build a better tomorrow. These things I’ve listed are by no means the complete list of all the hard things that your mom and I had to do during our life together, nor is it the end of the hard things that we will need to do during the rest of our life together. The list is not the point. The point is that even though we have had to do some hard things, and still do, doing hard things makes us stronger people and will make you stronger people as well. Plus, doing the hard things in life leads to the good things in life because any good thing worth having – good relationships, good education, good career, good marriage, good family, good health, good finances, good retirement, and a good tomorrow – is worth the hard things we must do to have them.

I wish life was different and I wish I could tell you that life will never be hard, but I’d be lying if I did. So as your father, I want to encourage each of you to make a life-long commitment to doing the hard things in life because the truth is that good things in life most often come from doing hard things in life. An old Chinese proverb says, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Taking a journey of a thousand miles is a hard thing, but once you take the first step in doing any hard thing, each subsequent step becomes much easier. So don’t be afraid to take the first step in doing the hard things in life because the journey to a good life awaits each hard step you must take along the way.

Your imperfect loving,


Doing Hard Things Copyright 2016, Gary J. Borgstede.  You have permission to reprint the letter, Doing Hard Things, in its entirety only, and forward to your colleagues and friends, provided the copyright notice remains part of the reprint and transmission.  All other rights reserved.