rebelling against low expectations

My Dad Is Sick, And That’s Hard: Sydnie’s Story


After reading so many great entries for the Do Hard Things Story Contest, we’ve decided to highlight a story on TheRebelution every week for the rest of the year. Each story emphasizes how Do Hard Things has impacted these rebelutionaries. Today, meet Sydnie!

I first read Do Hard Things when I was 13.

It made me think because most of the things talked about in it were things I had just done because they were easy.

Easy is great; it doesn’t involve much effort, and you don’t often have to deal with things people might say about you.

When I turned 14 I really started to realize that the hard things I had to do were right in my home. My dad has had four strokes, and the last one really affected him. He can’t work, he has difficulty remembering things, and stress is really bad for him.

After talking with my pastor and my mom, I made it my mission to relieve the stress my five siblings cause every day while they work on schoolwork and play. I was already watching them the two and a half days my mom was working, but I was doing the bare minimum.

The next day my mom worked, I did my best to help.

I helped prepare and clean up after meals and did as much as I could to help with school – even if it meant that I couldn’t do what I wanted to do right away.

After school, I helped my brothers get ready for soccer practice. At that point, I was pretty stressed. I soon realized that I had forgotten to wash their socks, and Dad got really mad.

Pastor told me that whenever he got mad I needed to go up to him and give him a hug.

It was hard because he was really scary, but I went up to him, gave him a hug and said, “I’ll take care of it.”

It was amazing; he stopped swearing, stopped slamming things, and calmed down almost instantly!

I got everything together, helped the boys get all their stuff on, and found some spare socks they could use. I got them ready on time, and they even were early for soccer practice!

Dad told Mom later that I was a huge blessing to him that day! That really encouraged me, and I’ve been doing my best to help my family for several months now.

It’s not always easy.

It’s still scary to hug my dad when he gets mad, but it doesn’t happen as much now. And I’ve even learned how to deal with my brothers when they start annoying me.

God has really worked a miracle in my life. It’s amazing to look back on what I used to be and compare it to now!

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About the author

Sydnie Castor

is a rebelutionary 15-year-old from the Land of Ten Thousand Lakes. She loves reading, knitting, and writing for her blog. She has four brothers and one sister, who drive her crazy! She has lived in several states including Wisconsin, North Carolina, and Alabama.


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  • Wow Sydnie! Thank you for your story! That is amazing and takes a lot of courage! That is amazing that you are willing to step up and help your family like that. I know that I get really irritated quickly! Your story is really inspiring!

  • Amen!! God is good and God takes the horrible things and make them amazing so thankyou so much for sharing your story! Its inspiring and encouraging. We can truly get a glimpse of the amazing things God can do in our lives.

  • Sydnie this is SO inspiring to me. I absolutely love your story. I mean, dealing with siblings is really hard. I only have one sister and I just can’t imagine having more than one! You dealing with younger brothers is incredible!!! I am so proud of you and I thank you a million times over for sharing your incredible story! You have truly inspired me to strive to do greater things in my life.

    Thank you,

  • Thanks for sharing Sydnie! Very inspiring and causes me to look at our home and see what could be done that I’m half heartedly doing!

  • This is an amazing story, Syndie! It made me stop and think about how little I do for my family even though it would be so much easier for me than it is for you. This has inspired me to try and help my mom be less stressed and have peace around my home, which for me is truly doing a hard thing.
    -Grace (

  • Thank you for sharing your story. I’m sorry to hear about what’s going on with your dad, but it’s great that God has taught you so much in all of this.

  • Sydnie,

    That is one of the most precious posts that I have read. More often than not, we don’t need to look for for harder things to do. The Lord promises hard things in our lives to chisel us into His likeness. That is where the rubber meets the road. Consider yourself blessed as the character that He is producing in you is not only forming you to be more like ahim, but more so that God is glorified.

    May you have peace for today and hope for tomorrow.


  • This is a beautiful testimony of God’s grace in your life. Thanks for sharing, Sydnie! I know these things you are doing and experiencing can’t be easy, but I am blessed by your courage and faithfulness to persevere.
    Also, I see you have lived in NC at one point. That is where I grew up. 😉

  • You’re a wonderful girl with such a bright future Sydnie – keep growing in God and learning every day! (and eventually your siblings will become some of your best friends) 😉

  • Thanks for all the wonderful encouraging comments guys, I honestly didn’t think that of all the amazing stories people had my story would be picked. I’m so glad that God could inspire people through, of all people, me.

  • Thank you for sharing your story, Sydnie! God is using you in amazing ways. I know firsthand that dealing with family stress is never easy. Good for you for sticking with it! God bless, sister. 🙂

  • Sydnie, thank you so much for being sharing that. I have two brothers and one sister. Two of them have mental illnesses. One is having a fit and slamming doors as I type this. It’s inspiring to me that maybe just dealing with what life throws at me is what I need to be doing, and that I don’t need to try so hard to be doing awesome incredible things. I am sure that there are ways I can help my family more than I am. I like to hear stories from people that I can relate to. Again, thank you for having the boldness to share part of your life like that.

By Sydnie Castor
rebelling against low expectations

The Rebelution is a teenage rebellion against low expectations—a worldwide campaign to reject apathy, embrace responsibility, and do hard things. Learn More →