The last several weeks, in particular, have been filled with family members who have had to make decisions about how they are going to deal with certain life circumstances. As our children and grandchildren get older, and more resolute in their own ways, Janet and I must depend on how we raised them and hope that, with the nudging of the Holy Spirit, our family members will make great choices in their lives.
After all, there is no question that Janet and I are more old school than the younger generations but we have been steadfast in the demonstration of our values and the things that we have tried to teach our children and grandchildren. Let’s face it, we don’t always agree with them – but we have also raised our family members to have their own thoughts and to filter what they have learned against their own value system to do what is right.
Throughout the years, we have dealt with issues like positional respect, personal respect, loving well and being cognizant of the environment when making decisions. We have also dealt with the command that you never go against the family, you defend one another and our different individual strengths are what make us stronger as a family if we leverage our gifts for the good of everyone.
We have had years to work on the family value system. Sometimes, there are little wins, but they all count. And this week was a great example.
Our daughter, Kristin, and most of her family headed to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan for a family vacation. Cooper, her youngest, had a number of basketball practices and other reasons to stay home – he expressed an interest in staying with us rather than heading north. So we were thrilled to have him live with us for a week. His willingness to pitch in and help, respect the rules of the household, engage in conversation, converse when he would have rather been playing video games or watching TV, all contributed to an awesome week. But the highlight was when he was getting ready to leave yesterday.
The bed was made, the bathroom was spotless, everything was in its place and he was the perfect guest all week. I was proud of him – because I know that at home Kristin’s family has a different set of house rules than we do. The fact that a fifteen year old boy respected our wishes and delivered in spades was very gratifying. After all, he had to make choices based on our value system and overlay what was important to him. It was the perfect illustration of respect and putting into practice what he has learned since he was a toddler.
On top of it all, we all had a great time. Janet and I drove Cooper to practices, picked up his friends and Cooper helped with the chores back at his own house. He was a joy. Now I know that this sounds like a little thing, but it is symbolic of so many examples that Janet and I have seen in the family throughout the years. Whether it is the way to dress for church, or using the correct fork at dinner, these little things make a difference.
That’s because they have been taught a certain way to do things. In other words, they know the standard and then have to decide if they want to adhere to the family standard or deviate from it. They can’t be held responsible if they have never learned the expectation.
For example, Janet still writes thank you letters by hand and express our gratitude and appreciation when people go out of their way for us. We set the tone for the rest of the family. And we feel honored when our efforts are rewarded and our children and grandchildren make us proud. I hope that happens in your family as well.
Tonight’s verse is from the psalms. Solomon, the author of this psalm, tells us in Psalm 127:3-5, “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.”
My encouragement this evening is that God considers our children a gift and a legacy that we are to love and teach to the best of our ability. My prayer is that we will have a positive impact on future generations and honor God in the process. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…