Experience, Wisdom, and the Next Generation
By Terry Cheek
Wow, can you believe it’s June? 2020 is half gone. June also brings us to a very special day, Father’s Day. This year I have been drawn, more so than in the past, to the wisdom of my parents. The older I get I seem to realize more the value of the wisdom they gave me. Lori and I both are blessed to have mothers with us still. Both of us have had to see our fathers promoted to eternity. We speak often of our parents and the things they taught us as children and young adults. For this issue of The Blue Ridge Christian News, I would like to challenge you to reflect on your parents and the wisdom, experience, and training they provided you. I realize some of you may not have had a memorable relationship with your parents; none of us have lived a storybook life. Maybe your memories are with grandparents, stepparents, foster parents, or adoptive parents. Most of us have a parent role model in your life and they have worked tirelessly to make a godly influence in your life.
May I share a childhood experience with you. The house I live in was built by my father circa 1960. When the sunlight hits my parent’s old bedroom door just right, I can see small handprints. They were mine when I was a toddler. Dad worked third shift in a cotton mill. He would come home and go to bed, but I wanted to see him, so I would stand at the door and slap it with my hands. I’m certain I got into trouble, but dad and I were best friends. Where he went, I went. This relationship is missing in too many families today. Men, if you have fathered children please make sure you’re a father to your children. If something has gotten between you, there is time to put it to rest and start moving forward with the future God has set aside for you. Reach up to Jesus and reach out to family and watch God work.
Lori and I are fortunate to have many memories with our parents and I bet you do too. I know we live in a fast-paced world and social media seems to have taken the place of personal visits and even telephone calls, but let me encourage you to put life in a slower gear, pour a cup of coffee, a glass of sweet tea or lemonade and find a quiet spot and reflect on your childhood. For example, my father was an outdoorsman who trained me to shoot, hunt, and fish, garden, and provide for myself in the most demanding of times. These are skills that are with me today, and skills that I try to pass on to my grandchildren. A few years ago, I bought a hunting knife blank. I wanted to finish it out myself. Buying a finished knife would be much cheaper. But the skills I used were given to me by my parents and I wanted to use them one more time. The knife with English walnut scales turned out nice and it fits my hand just right. It’s more than making a purchase it’s an investment that can be passed along to the next generation. The important things in life don’t necessarily come from books. They are life skills and they are taught, not read.
Those life skills would not be complete without Mom’s input into my character. From prayer to church to Bible to manners and family skills, she makes a big influence in our lives. Lori and I recently spent an evening talking about how we became who we are. We may have a long way to go but thanks to our parents we have a roadmap to follow. I bet you have a roadmap too. I bet someone has invested in you. Think about who that man or woman is and spend some time thinking about the skills, experience, and wisdom they have invested in you. Look at yourself and consider this question, are you investing in the lives of the children and youth in your life? Share skills, help them have experiences that will last a lifetime, and don’t forget your wisdom, pass it along to the next generation. They will put down the cell phones, the computers, the video games, etc.… if they have a reason. Let us start giving them a reason. I found it a pleasure to learn new things with my daughters when they were younger; I still enjoy learning new things with all of them. I consider it a blessing indeed to have six wonderful grandchildren I can learn with. I’m never too old to learn and I find something every day I can invest in their lives. I believe this is the interpretation and application of Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Also, let’s not forget Paul’s words to the Ephesians in Chapter 6 verses 1-4. “Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honor thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth. And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord”. This passage speaks to children and parents, providing wisdom for the entire family. It may take some time, it did with me, but I retained my training because it was godly training and as I have gotten older, I return to more and more of it. Parents invest yourself in your children and remember this, being a father or mother is genetic, but being a Dad or Mom comes from the heart. You will be blessed in the end, I have been.
Until we meet again in person or print, may God richly bless you is my prayer!
Terry is the Executive Director and broadcaster of The Inspiring Word media ministry. You can contact Terry by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, Or by visiting www.theinspiringword.org
You can also read more from Terry Cheek HERE.