Once again, I wasn't sure what to chat about today and I was even thinking of skipping another Sunday Afternoon Tea (which I had to do last week due to company). However, as so often happens, I found myself pondering a subject on Friday and after a Eureka! moment... thought it a great subject for today. That being the subject of the kind of influence we have on the younger generation around us, both ours and other young people.
As you may have remembered, if you read my post a day or two ago, I had to take Christopher to his college classes and wait for him before dropping him off at work so I could have that car for a doctor's appointment. I spent most of the time at the campus library but I usually walk to the building where he has his math class and wait in the large lobby on the ground floor when it is time for him to leave.
While there this week, I overheard a number of conversations among the young people and received quite a shock (and believe me, I'm not easy to shock). Let's just say I never expected to hear the "effe" word used before the words Disney and movie. The conversations were vulgar and if nothing else... stupid. Those were my thoughts at the time, we are raising a generation with no brains, much less no manners. As Christopher reminded me later, these are the smarter students who don't flunk out or drop out of courses in the first few weeks.
I wondered if I'd find the same thing at the University. (For those who haven't read my ponderings very long, my son is taking his freshman year of college at the big community college in our area to gain more experience in lab science and advanced math before transferring to engineering at the much bigger university near us.) Homeschooling is a very good thing but one area it can lack in is the lab sciences.
Anyway... I had a chance to find out when I picked Christopher up from work and he reminded me he needed to get a haircut before going home. We parked in one of the parking garages at the University and he took me to his new favorite coffee shop, which is within walking distance of the small university shopping area that has a hair salon.
I was enamered with it from the beginning. I could see C. S. Lewis sitting in one of the overstuffed, black leather chairs. Well, not really but in my imagination. I am not quite that daffy, yet. (No comments from those in New England.)
Christopher told me to order a big cup of coffee as he'd be awhile and the young woman behind the counter suggested their "house latte" called Dr. Strangelove. Sigh... all I can say is I'm hooked and it was the most delicious cup of coffee I've had in my life... rather like a coffee equivalent of chai tea. Yum... I thanked him many times for buying me that coffee, it was well worth having to wait on him.
A young couple sitting near me were talking about various subjects, which I managed to block for the most part but I took it from the little I couldn't help hearing that the young man was worried about his girlfriend because she had all the symptoms of Anorexia... literally killing herself.
Later she began to spew hatred for those against abortion, saying preconceived ideas (all lies) about the kind of people who would be against abortion and then going on to tell him how she learned.. in her HEALTH CLASS at the University... that the fetus is not truly a baby at first and that is even why women have morning sickness because the body is trying to reject that which was not intended for it in the first place. Ummm... huh?
Although they left very soon after this, I couldn't get this young woman out of my mind. I thought of the influences around her that were affecting her very life and health... those that were leading to her own physical destruction and could cause a decision against that of an unwanted child at a later date. Did her parents teach her this or did the way she see herself result from the reflection of her peers and surroundings, just as her "scientific" evidence about the unborn came from a University class.
How little we know when we start this parenting journey of the influence we have on the world through our children, as well as other children outside our own family that we choose to spend time with and nurture. Both of my children came to know Christ as Saviour at a very young age and nothing pleases my husband and I more than to know they continue that walk... never perfectly mind you (neither do we)... but they both keep Him in their mind as they go through their daily activities.
I'm sure the influence of literature, British flicks, great Bible teachers, preferred styles of music, art, beauty, gardens (albeit I am not a very talented gardener), cooking "from scratch", daily devotions, etc. have their genesis in the way I've lived my life. They both get their brains and their more logical creativity from their Dad (believe me...).
Then again, they both have used what we taught and how we lived to surpass any of our expectations. I see my daughter and son-in-law building on the foundations of both sets of parents and that influence is already being seen in the grandchildren. I am often amazed when Christopher tells me of conversations with his friends who do not know Christ. All because of what seemed such small decisions many years ago and played out in such minute ways in our day to day living... imperfectly so often.
For I have come to realize that it was rarely the "big events" of our lives that had the desired affect in our family. That influence was made known and went deep in the everyday, precept by precept, conversations at the dinner table, books read together, TV shows we looked forward to seeing each week and discussing, special movies, and seasonal traditions for which we looked forward as "this is how we always do it in our family".
I think of the difference between our two children and those of my brothers and sisters who lived lives full of drinking and sinful living (there is a reason I do not easily get shocked). Once again, their influence came from the day to day living in families who find peace through the bottle and brief acceptance through multiple relationships.
Every influence started from a seemingly small decision which had enormous impact on later generations, the families they married into, their friends, and their communities. My husband and I are very imperfect people but with God's grace and mercy, we live with our greatest desire to hear "well done, good and faithful servant" not only for us but for the generations which follow. I'm thankful He does not expect perfection... but persistence. :)