I wasn’t much good at running when I was younger, but the most exciting race during the athletic season was the relay. The handover of the baton was the most crucial part, one fluff up at the hand over could mean the difference between winning and losing. Athletes practice this handover repeatedly so that the process becomes as natural as possible. Only by repeatedly going through the same motions, does it become part of the movements of the athletes and one hopes: ensures no mistakes.
This got me thinking about the things we practice everyday that we pass on to the next generation. Things that we do and say that will shape the next generation to become the people they are. Truths we teach that they will repeat in words and actions as if it is part of their movements in life, and hopefully keeps them off the path of error.
Edith Schaefer said that a family is a perpetual relay of truth, a place where truths are hammered into hearts and sharpened in the process of day-to-day living.
In the family, character is shaped under the watchful eye of Mom and Dad and the extended family of grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins etc. to back them up. In the family, the root system of a child is grown and strengthened to cope with life.
Truths are passed on that may not be that obvious, but each generation receive these truths to take them on to the next generation.
In Eph 6:4, we are parents are instructed to”…bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.“
Proverbs 22:6 promises that “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.“
Training in godliness benefits all generations. 1 Tim 4:7-8 “Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.”
We are encouraged to be examples that they can imitate. Heb 13:7 “Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.” and 1 Cor 11:1 “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.”
Sharing a way to follow in the difficult days of life that they can come in afterwards. 1 Peter 2:21 “To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.”
Besides reading your bible, praying and attending church, which are just some of the examples we set for our children, there are other life truths we share in passing through the generations. As a young mother I came across this list of truths that I wanted to plant into the root system of my children’s lives. Things that I said over and over again, so that they became part of the vocabulary of my children and changed their behavior. I have added my own over the years.
Determination: “Stick it out, no matter what.”
Attitude: “You choose your attitude.”
Honesty: “Speak and live the truth, always.”
Failure: “If at first you don’t succeed, try again.”
Generosity: “Go with a gift.”
Responsibility: “Be someone people can depend on, that they can trust.”
Accountability: “Never trust yourself, allow questions.”
Character: “The real revelation of who you are, is the character revealed by time.”
Thoughtfulness: “Think of other people before you think of yourself.”
Confidentiality: “Don’t share secrets. Keep your mouth shut.”
Punctuality: “Be on time.”
Hope: “Always have something to look forward to.”
Humility: “Don’t think too much of yourself.”
Self-control: “Don’t freak out, be calm and think.”
Patience: “Don’t get irritated, wait your turn.”
Purity: “Live clean, in everything.”
Relationships: “Be the person you want to have a relationship with.”
Compassion: “Consider how someone else feels.”
Diligence: “Hard work never killed, get in there.”
Hard Work: “Hard work has it’s own reward.”
Commitment: “If you say yes to something, keep your yes, yes.”
Personal Responsibility: “You answer for your own life.”
Happiness: “You hold the key to your own happiness.”
Truth laid down in the root system of our children, give them a firm base from which to flourish in life. Although nothing is as valuable as teaching them to seek truth in scripture for themselves.
“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edgedsword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” Heb 4:12
Thank you for Your word Lord. Thank you that it provides the tools we need to build into our children’s lives. Help me to be mindful of reminding my children of truth, so that they can go ahead in life and flourish. Help me to make a rich deposit into their hearts, a way to follow and example for them to imitate.