One hot summer’s day in the middle of June, my parents’ car suddenly stopped running. My dad pulled to a stop beside the road and tried to restart it, but to no avail. Upon arriving home and seeing the car on the cement pad next to our shop, I knew something was wrong; we only put things on that cement pad that need repair. When my dad told me we would repair the car at home, my heart soared. I have always been into cars. To hear that I would get to be a mechanic for a few days outweighed the fact that the car was broken. Initiate project car revival!
My dad thought there might be a problem with the spark plugs—that the gas wasn’t igniting to run the engine. In our research, we found that it might have something to do with the coil, which boosts the voltage from the battery to a higher voltage for the spark. We set out to tear up the car.
We needed to gain access to the coil, which was in the middle of the engine bay, but there were covers and hoses in the way. After doing as much as we could, we left it for the night.
The next morning, I removed the final cover that enclosed the coil—and I saw our problem. The coil was cracked and broken, and a strange goop was running out. I replaced the old coil with the new one and put the car somewhat back together, and then waited for my dad to get home from work.
It was time to test the car. We wired everything back up, hopped in the car, and turned the key. Nothing. Since an electrical component had failed, a fuse might have blown too. We checked and, sure enough, there was a blown fuse in the fuse box. I pedaled down to the hardware store, and with about a minute to spare before they closed, I bought the fuses we needed.
When I arrived home, I ripped open the box and replaced the fuse, eager to hear the car purr back to life. But when I turned the key: POP. My dad informed me that the fuse had blown again. There was a short in the system somewhere. The location of the short was unclear, but the possibilities were relatively few.
We kept experimenting to locate the short, but we couldn’t find it. After spending three days in the hot June sun—sweaty, greasy, discouraged—my dad said we might get the car fixed by a mechanic instead.
I couldn’t let this happen!
My dream of my first real experience as a mechanic could not be crushed so easily. That night, I implored my dad to keep working on it, and we kept researching. Finally, right before bedtime, we found a website filled with explanations of problems people have had with this car, and we found exactly what we were looking for. A small capacitor was fried. This tiny thing, about the diameter of a penny and only 15 mm tall, halted the whole car from running.
I installed a new capacitor the next day. My dad instructed me to put the car back together, but not to start it. After my dad got home, we replaced the fuse again, and I turned the key.
As it turns out, I had never reconnected the wires to the spark plugs. This time, when I got in the car, it came back to life.
Four days of hard work were all caused by a penny-sized piece of hardware. If we had given up after just replacing the coil, my dad would have had someone else fix the car for us. That would’ve cost a lot more money than it cost us just doing it at home, not to mention everything we learned from it. But we didn’t give up. We kept on pushing even when it was hard.
Perseverance is an important characteristic to have. In fact, it is closely related to the fourth fruit of the spirit: patience (Galatians 5:22). Perseverance and patience go hand in hand—and you can’t persevere without patience. Where would we be if we just gave up after one failure?
In his book, The Seven Laws of Success, Mr. Armstrong wrote, “They [people in general] give up and quit, when just a little more determined hanging on, just a little more faith and perseverance—just a little more STICK-TO-IT-IVENESS—would have turned apparent certain failure into glorious success.” His sixth law of success is perseverance! People give up when just a little more work would have brought them success.
The next time you are on the verge of giving up, just remember that one final push, one more try, might make the difference between success and failure.