Posts Tagged ‘parenting’

Aging is a funny old thing as my grandmother used to say. And really, it is. What’s even stranger is seeing people you love age.

During the summer holidays my parents usually come out for my son’s birthday and stay for an open-ended visit. This could mean four weeks to three months. The length of their visit depends on what’s going on in all of our lives and how long we can live in my little shoebox together.

Because I only see them once or twice a year, the changes that they are going through as they age are very noticable. They don’t creep up on me like they would if I saw them often, instead they hit me over the head like a 2×4.

The funny thing about parents and a child’s memory of them – at least my memory of  them – is that they sit in the photo frame of my mind at their very best stage of life.

My mom has always been a fun-loving, laughing woman who didn’t let you get away with much. Yet, at times gave my brother and I a really long rope. My memories of her swirl around a small blond woman with laughing grey/green eyes who twinkled when she talked and could get up to mischief in a second.

My dad was a sterner figure who always reminded me of someone who would have done well in the Victorian era. He could do anything and my memories of him are chock full of him fixing and making pretty much everything and anything from the car, to the yard – pouring cement ( with my Mom laughing next to him as they worked the cement mixer together) to putting in the yard. He could do just about anything.

Now they are a little older, they aren’t pouring cement or getting up to so much mischief. They are changing just like I am. Sometimes these changes are difficult to see, while other are a joy.

Just the other morning I saw something that I don’t remember seeing before, my mom sitting quietly, her large print Bible open in front of her as she read God’s Word. She does this everyday now. I remember that she did Bible studies when I was young, but I don’t recall seeing her read His Word everyday, not like she does now.

This could be my own faulty memory starting to fitz out with age, or it could be a very concrete reminder that no matter what our age or circumstance, God is always with us. We just need to take the time to remember He’s there.

“I will be the same until your old age, and I will bear you up when you turn gray.”

Isaiah 46:4a

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Legacy building. Whether we like to admit it or not, we all like to think we’re leaving a little bit of ourselves behind, so when we’re gone we won’t truly be forgotten.

In the western world and culture, the legacy we often think of leaving behind is one of success which translates into wealth handed down to the next generation. Any of us who are parents would probably agree that we would like to hand down something to our children, some form of wealth to remember us by and to make their lives a little bit easier.

We strive to be successful, getting good educations so we can make good money, so we can buy houses and cars and more stuff. And, at the end of the day we often leave our children with the daunting job of plowing through our stuff with most of it ending up at the local thrift store so someone else can buy it and add to their pile of stuff.

But, is a legacy of stuff what we really want to leave with our children?

Just the other day I was talking with a friend of mine, we were discussing how a wonderful teacher at our children’s school was going to be moving out of the area and wouldn’t be back at the school in the coming year.

Now, I only know this teacher in a very cursory way, she didn’t teach my son, but she has always impressed me with her God centered attitude and her calm and gentle spirit. That being said, I never really thought much more about her than that.

That was until the conversation with my friend took a turn and we began talking about how important it is for our children to remember that they are God’s children and to act accordingly. It as then that my friend said something that caught my ear.

A few years ago at a Mother’s Day chapel at my son’s school a young man gave a talk about his mother and what she said to him whenever he left the house.

“Remember whose child you are,” she would say which I’m sure was sometimes followed by a roll of his eyes, or maybe just an indulgent smile that hid a ‘yeah, right mom’. But, despite the typical teenager or young adult reactions, what his mother said to him stuck, it was so powerful that as an adult he chose to talk about it to a group of school children.

And it was so powerful, it was something I never forgot too. I say the very same thing to my own son when he leaves the house to go to a friend’s house or his father’s for the weekend. Turns out my friend remembered it as well and says it to her own children.

What I didn’t know until my friend told me, was the speaker’s mother was the same teacher who is leaving the school. The one I don’t know very well, but whose influence has changed the way I relate to my own son.

Sometimes God uses us to build a legacy when we don’t even know we’re doing it. In the little things that convey who He is and what He is about that have very little to do with the legacy of success and wealth this world tells us is so important.

Sometimes in following Him, He folds us into the common place and uses the very things that seem mundane and inconsequential to build His legacy, which is the most important work we could ever be a part of.

“Take a good look, friends, at who you were when you got called into this life. I don’t see many of “the brightest and the best” among you, not many influential, not many from high-society families. Isn’t it obvious that God deliberately chose men and women that the culture overlooks and exploits and abuses, chose these “nobodies” to expose the hollow pretensions of the “somebodies”? That makes it quite clear that none of you can get by with blowing your own horn before God. Everything that we have—right thinking and right living, a clean slate and a fresh start—comes from God by way of Jesus Christ. That’s why we have the saying, “If you’re going to blow a horn, blow a trumpet for God.”

1 Corinthians 1:28 (The Message)

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