“Even when I am old and gray…I will declare Your power to the next generation, Your might to all who are to come.” Psalm 71:18
In 2007 Michelle Rhee became Chancellor of the District of Columbia Public Schools, one of the worst school systems in America. With declining test scores, graduation and enrollment, in three years of service, Michelle became a catalyst for change. In the face of huge opposition and controversy, she reversed the trends and produce remarkable growth in all areas during her brief tenure.
Catalytic people don’t cave when the odds appear insurmountable. They don’t make excuses about why something can’t be done or divert the responsibility elsewhere. Catalytic people just do what must be done. Catatonic people don’t seem to care, and so the idea of changing things is not even on their radar.
Today’s grandparents must face challenges not unlike what Michelle Rhee faced. Things today are much different than the world we knew as children. At times, it may feel overwhelming and even heartbreaking, but
“If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” I John 1:8
Speaking out in a young marrieds’ Sunday School class, one new mother adamantly declared, “I believe children are born good. Children learn about sin from other adults.” She would not accept the biblical teaching of original sin being discussed in the class. In her mind, children were too innocent to have a sinful nature. Chuck Colson once likened this thinking to “whistling past our children’s graveyard.”
William Golding didn’t believe in original sin either, at least until World War II changed his thinking. In 1954 he published his first novel, Lord of The Flies, a powerful and disturbing parable about the sin nature in every man, including children. The book describes what happens when kids stranded on an island lack any moral guidance by adults.
The evidence of what happens when adult moral guidance is missing is abundantly obvious in our day. Too many kids are raised in a moral vacuum and expected to figure things out for themselves. One mother shared how she encourages her teenage daughter to bring boyfriends home to have sex because she believes it will be safer. No discussion or consideration of moral implications and consequences is involved. This is her idea of providing moral guidance.
For God did not give us a spirit of timidity [fear], but of power, of love and of self-discipline.
2 Timothy 1:7
About this you can be certain—these are uncertain times. Whether we’re talking about politics, economics, morality or the seeming endless media accounts of violence today, it can feel like fear-mongering is everywhere. We know that fear is a powerful tool in Satan’s hands that can paralyze us from taking action or manipulate us into wrong actions.
Perhaps similar to the construction signs we see warning of roadwork ahead, we need some caution signs posted on our TV’s, tablets, computers, and across the front pages of our newspapers warning us that the fear-mongers are ahead.
How would Christ want us to respond to the fears lurking around us in times like these? How ought we to model to our grandchildren an appropriate response to fear? How do we control fear rather than let fear control us?
Listen my son to a father's instruction; pay attention and gain understanding.
Forty-five years ago I became a father for the first time. At age 22 I was as green and wet behind the ears as you can get when it came to being a father. I didn’t know much but I was foolish enough to believe I could pretty much figure it out on my own. I wish I had known what I know now, and really sought the wisdom and counsel of my Dad and other godly men more often. After all, my Da and Mom raised six kids. I think they might have known a thing or two about parenting.
But the sad truth is that I almost never went to my Dad and asked his advise, and that was a mistake. So, now as a grandfather, I am going to take it upon myself to say what my father probably wishes he could have said. So, grandfathers, maybe you can find a way to share this post with your sons or sons-in-law and invite their feedback. If you’re a young dad, I hope you put these ten things into practice for your sake and your family’s sake.
So, here goes…
TEN THINGS ONE GRAND-DAD WISHES EVERY DAD KNEW (and put into practice):