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A Century Ago… Plus One!

Today was just another example as to how Janet and I are really kind of stuck in the past when it comes to the way that we live life. Perhaps by today’s standards, we are rather boring, but I would prefer to say that we are “old school.” Janet was one of those kids who never caused trouble for her parents and although I can’t claim that I was exactly the same, I went to great lengths to try and have my parents be proud of my efforts. It just seems that we are so much different than many younger folks in society today.

We watch quite a bit of television, believe in a clean home, try to get our work done before we play and do so many of the things that we learned from our parents many years ago. Each month, we go through a process of paying our bills, checking our receipts for false charges and we also balance the checkbooks of our various accounts. In fact, that’s what we were doing this afternoon – balancing our accounts. Now I know that many people don’t even bother to do that these days. They just take for granted what the bank says as true.

I guess I enjoy the practice of actually doing the work of checking off the deposits, adding up the open items, both debits and credits, and making sure I can balance what the bank says we have – to the penny. Every once in a while I catch something, but I admit that most of the time, the bank is correct. Yet I receive such a sense of satisfaction when we go through the exercise of getting more deeply into our finances.

I don’t know if anyone else, other than our daughter, Jill, even bothers to do the same thing. But the truth of the matter is that I grew up with my father’s instruction in so many things that I still practice today. When I created our business systems, they are the same ones that Dad taught me. Of course, Dad didn’t have the benefit of micro computer systems and all the other things, such as cell phones, that we enjoy now. But the thought processes he taught me have provided an excellent base of knowledge that has served me well throughout my life.

Work before play, never being late on homework, turning in my best work, etc. are all things that Dad taught me. And while there are things that perhaps I would do differently if left to my own devices, I have stayed the course and honored my parents my entire life. Janet is very much the same way.

Today, Dad would have celebrated his 101st birthday. He was exactly 30 years older than I am. And yesterday, Mom and Dad would have been married 76 years. It was their anniversary. Unfortunately, Mom and Dad didn’t make it past 30 years – Dad died back in 1978. I remember the party we threw for them when they celebrated 25 years of marriage. And I can’t help but contrast it to the almost 51 years that Janet and I have been married.

Of course, there were good, and some not so good, things that I remember growing up with. Dad was stickler for curfews and making sure that my folks always knew where I was. And until Janet and I were married, we had a curfew of midnight- no exceptions. I know those things seem archaic by today’s standards. But as I was thinking about it earlier this afternoon, I am exceptionally proud of the way that I was raised. Of course, Janet and I tried to take the best part of our upbringing in dealing with our children; and also our grandchildren.

I guess it is customary that each generation thinks their parents are too strict or don’t know what’s best for them. I respectfully disagree. I can’t help but think many of our nation’s issues have to do with the collapse of the American family. I once heard my father say that the older he got, the smarter his father became. I can say the same thing. I don’t know if my brothers would agree, and God knows our relationship with our parents wasn’t always idyllic, but as I continue to age, I fine myself turning to my instruction from my parents for guidance even though they have been gone for years. It still provides a “grounding” for me. And while I realize that many people didn’t have the upbringing that Janet and I have had, I am grateful for it!

Our verse for tonight, on this remembrance of the birth of my father, is from King Solomon and his book of Proverbs. Solomon, presumably the wisest man who ever lived, tells us in Proverbs 4:1-2, “Listen, my sons, to a father’s instruction; pay attention and gain understanding. I give you sound learning, so do not forsake my teaching.”

My encouragement this evening is that we all have people, genetic parents or otherwise, who have been tremendously instrumental in helping form our core beliefs for life. Hopefully, those role models have been an encouragement and have provided sound instruction that we lean on and recall throughout our lives. My prayer is that when we have doubts, or don’t know which way to turn, we will pray for guidance and also recall the training that we have had in the early days of our lives. I know that I still appreciate the things I learned from my parents. I certainly pray that our children and grandchildren, and even our son-in-laws, may look kindly upon Janet and me as worthy role models throughout their lives – especially after we are long gone. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…. And Dad, all the accounts balanced once again – thanks for teaching me…. I think of you each month when I tackle this task!

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