For the past couple of days, I have been listening for the Holy Spirit to guide me about what I am to bring to you in this post. And I'm always surprised as that thought pops into my head when I least expect it. I was driving the back roads of our rural South Texas, and I instantly recognized the Spirit's prompting. And I became convicted of the importance of my assignment. Interestingly, it echoes His counsel from as far back as what I was prompted to write in 2012 and 2017. Apparently, the Lord has deemed that this concept is extremely important for us to grasp at this time. So I will be obedient to His prompting....
I know that many [if not most] of you reading this post are in the midst
of preparing to celebrate Christmas. And I'm pretty sure that
this year, the Christian holiday is viewed through a different lens.
There will not be many families who have not suffered a loss in 2020 due
to Covid-19. Whether it is loss of a family member, or the loss of a
job, or the soul-impacting loss of hope, it may be difficult to focus on
the "peace and good will towards men" message of our Savior's birth.
Through what has most likely been a painful and/or confusing process, each of us has had to come to a place in our spirit and our heart where
we have determined how we are going to live in the changing dynamics of
So, I would like to share what Moses spoke to the Israelites as they faced a daunting and frightening future, while preparing to enter the Promised Land: "But watch out! Be very careful never to forget what you have seen God doing for you. May His miracles have a deep and permanent effect upon your lives! Tell your children and your grandchildren about the glorious miracles He did. Tell them especially about the day you stood before the Lord at Mount Horeb, and He told me, ‘Summon the people before Me and I will instruct them, so that they will learn always to reverence Me, and so that they can teach My laws to their children" (Deuteronomy 4:9-10).
I believe that as we Baby Boomers come to terms with the possible scenarios of 2021 and beyond, our youngest adult generation, Generation Y.1 (a subset of the "Millennial Generation, and aged 24-29), are struggling the most with how to navigate the minefield that is our future. And I believe we, along with the generation that followed us [Generation X] have done them a disservice. Let me explain... In February 2012, just two months after I began writing this blog, I wrote this: "It is becoming more and more apparent to me that our children are no longer learning from us. When I was growing up, I can remember listening to the stories of my grandmothers, and loving to hear the history of my parents."
You see, I heard my ancestor's personal testimonies of poverty during the Depression; the sudden loss of a young husband and the need to provide for 5 small children by taking in laundry and doing sewing repairs; the loss of 3 infant babies to "consumption", and many more stories of personal devestation. My father told me tales of his grandmother, who remembered traveling as a young girl in a covered wagon to escape Tennessee and the "advancing Yankees". They dug up the silverware from it's burial place, and left it all behind to start anew. And I knew his own story of signing up for the Navy at 17 (with his parents' permission) after Pearl Harbor, and fighting in the Pacific as a turret gunner in a low-level strafer and bomber (Ventura PV-1). And I have a permanent record [written down by my 94-year-old aunt) of what kind of man my grandfather I never knew was; his principles and the high esteem in which others regarded him.
My point in recounting all this? I have a standard to live by because I was raised on the memories of the courage and the moral values of my ancestors. I wanted to learn everything I could from those who came before me. I wanted to learn from their experiences. I wanted to feel that I could be as brave and determined as they were in the face of adverse circumstances. And I have a feeling that, very soon, I am going to have the opportunity to prove myself worthy of their legacies.
But perhaps, among my most valuable possession is the family Bible, which dates
back to 1814. In it are recorded the births, marriages and deaths of
the long line of people that leads to me. It is a reminder that life in this world can be harsh, and it shows me that my existence is
not all about me. And that brings me back to my concern for our youngest generations. They don't seem to care about knowing where they came from; instead,
they are willing to follow whatever the latest celebrity or media guru
tells them they should feel, think or say. And I'm afraid our couple of generations of prosperity have brought an expectation by Generation Y.1 that "Easy Street" is not only their right, but that it will continue unabated.
If you asked them to tell you what they've learned from their parents or grandparents, could they tell you? Have we handed over the responsibility of forming our children's identity to some nameless entity that knows better than we do? And most importantly, do they know that it is not all about them? That the rewards of this life come from working hard, helping others, overcoming adversity, and giving all the glory to our God?
And it is precisely because we've been such a prosperous nation post-World War II, that the American mindset became all about giving our children everything it was possible to give them. We made it all about them, as we left the memories of our family histories behind. The Enemy convinced us that we didn't want them to suffer lack, or discouragement, or difficulties, and we lost sight of the tremendous value of sharing [and experiencing] those very aspects of life. That's why God spends so much time in His Word reminding us to remember! It is through our shared and deliberately remembered history that we are able to see our role in our present conflicts. When we forget our history, we forget that we possess, within our DNA, the memories of how to overcome the obstacles, oppression, and struggles the devil puts in our way. When we lose those memories, we don't really know we are or who we came from, or what our present role is to be. And more importantly, we lose whose we are.
God admonished Moses to remind the Israelites to remember all He had done for them; the miracles of their survival through horrendous persecution. Have we taught our children and grandchildren of all the ways God has seen us through our own trials and tribulations, or shared the stories of their grandparents or great-grandparents? Or have we chosen to shelter them from anything that makes them feel uncomfortable or that might be too difficult for them to handle? If so, then finding their way through our uncertain future is going to be difficult for them. But it's not too late! It's time to become deliberate and attentive to remembering! Teach your young children the stories in the Bible of God's people overcoming their obstacles, and then relate it to your own family history. And we must begin to amend the lack of "remembering" that we didn't teach our young Millennial adults. It's time they begin to understand that what they've "learned" from technology and social media does not compare to the power of God's works in their family histories.
Each of us has a story to tell --- and that story helps define our morals, our value systems, and our successes in life. By the Grace of God, I owe whatever strength of mind and character I have to the examples that were passed down to me. What are we passing down to the next generation? PLEASE take the time to tell your children and grandchildren about overcoming difficulties; and teach them how to think for themselves. They have inherited a rich history of resiliency and fortitude. That is the American legacy. Teach them to embrace it. They are going to need it!
Psalm 78:2-4 A parable and a proverb are hidden in what I say—an intriguing riddle from the past. We’ve heard true stories from our fathers about our rich heritage. We will continue to tell our children and not hide from the rising generation the great marvels of our God—His miracles and power that have brought us all this far.