Sunday, October 26, 2008

Sunday Afternoon Tea

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. :)

5 comments:

learningtofollow said...

Brenda,

Thank you for these encouraging words. Being right in the middle of raising kids, all too often the doubts and fears choke out my hope. It is good to remember that the small steps of following the Lord will hopefully have a large impact on the lives of our children. I often try to remember that, like observing plant growth, it may be difficult to see growth in our children. It's easy to get discouraged when there is no apparent fruit, or not more of it. Yet, there is a time and season and I trust the Lord will bring about the fruit in their lives in His time. I just need to be patient! Have a wonderful week.
~Silvana

Heather said...

I'm so glad you had a Eureka! moment and wrote today's post! We so need to be reminded that our influence is far greater than we know - at times we influence without even knowing it! Last weekend, a young boy was baptized because he put his trust in Christ when my husband was teaching a missions class during Vacation Bible School a few summers ago. Until we learned of his baptism, we had no idea that he had accepted Christ at that time!
There are times when I just wonder if our own children are absorbing anything we are trying to teach them - days when it feels like it would be much easier to just work on academics and forget about character! It is encouraging to know that Christ is working through our our flawed work - and His work is perfect! Running the race persistently isn't easy, but it is important.

Vee ~ A Haven for Vee said...

We certainly need to make every effort to pray for a rebirth of values that come from knowing who we are in Christ. The things that these kids have stuffed down their throats in classrooms across this country...

Anonymous said...

You are so right about this current generation. My husband and I raised three children in the church, Christian school, prayer and fellowship groups were our social outlet every week. Christian radio programs such as Elisabeth Elliot,were what my kids heard every day and yet the two youngest strayed and got into trouble. Our son got into drugs and alcohol, but through the grace of God was spared from death although suffering two neck fractures and another accident (head on collision while under the influence) and was arrested for drugs. He has apologized to us and straightened out his life, and paid all his legal fees himself. He spent one night in jail, because he did not want my husband and I to know what he had done. He says that he knows that God spared him because many times he should have been dead. Our youngest, beautiful daughter (age 23) is still living a prodigal life of reckless abandon and promiscuity- and is breaking my heart. Please pray and intercede for her (Mary)-She was a handful from the beginning, and has not outgrown her ways. She continues to put herself at risk and danger. I constantly ask the Lord where we went wrong and plead his mercy on her.

Clif said...

Wonderful post. I hope many will read it. We need more messages on the power of influence.