|My Father and Son|
When I read Operating Instructions for Raising Children I remembered one of the craziest parts of our marriage – raising little people. And no instruction manual came with them! It was a rollercoaster ride: scary and fun, and over too soon. I remember that bittersweet moment when I knew the little people were grown-ups with issues beyond my power to help them solve.
Our kids face tough hurdles – and while nothing is new under the sun – theirs seem higher and trickier than the ones that we faced. The world then couldn’t invade our home via a hand-held device! What wisdom can I pass along to them, when I don’t know where the icloud really is.
I got to thinking about how or what the “older generation” in my life might have thought about our issues. Nobody ever offered me unsolicited advice, but, I thought I’d just repeat the counsel they seldom spoke.
My father spoke rarely about God. However, he sometimes hoped I would remember to thank “the Man Upstairs”; said grace before our meals; took instruction in, joined and went to church. He was always interested in me and my family.
My mother’s last words according to a friend, before my mother dropped dead, were “My Lord will take care of me.” She had changed her life around; she read her Bible, and she went to church. She was always interested in me and my family. Her sister, my dear Aunt Virginia, who also changed her life, told me, when I was about to embark on a really unwise escapade: “Don’t ever be too proud to admit you were wrong.” She, too, was always interested in me and my family.
My mother-in-law and mother also advised expressing as few opinions to adult children as possible and to be helpful. She went to church regularly – even when her health was frail. She was always interested in her son and his family. Her brother copes with chronic pain honestly, but cheerfully, and in the spirit that God is good, even in his pain and suffering. He loves the Scriptures, and he goes to church. He is always interested in our family
My father’s mother gave me no advice – but she made a point of playing “The Old Rugged Cross” the few times I heard her play the piano. She went to church. She wrote me a few letters.
My great uncle and aunt, who raised my mom after her mother died, never gave me advice, but they gave me a Bible. And they went to church I was told.
My older family taught other life lessons – some more cautionary than others. However, what they taught and how they taught stuck:
Be interested in your family. Be grateful to God; go to church; cherish the Cross of Christ; swallow your pride and admit your transgressions; say little, do good when you can, and the Bible is a gift worth giving – and reading.
In it, I hear a promise: My children, and their children are loved with an everlasting love, and underneath are God’s everlasting arms. (Deuteronomy 33: 27) They can’t fall beyond His reach. (Elisabeth Elliot)