I recently read a post by Susan Barber called Hope for the Next Generation. Susan is a godly woman and teacher, and happens to be my kids favorite high school teacher. In her post, she said something that I think is very important. We, the older generation, often think of the younger generation as shallow and self-absorbed. As Susan said so well, “we choose to overload our kids with things and overlook being intentional about giving to a young person’s heart.”
Her post encouraged me to share a little practice I’ve started in recent years, a practice I wish I’d started earlier in life. As a young couple starting out, Laura and I made an effort to find a great church, a great pastor, and, to attend services Sunday after Sunday. So our kids have grown up in a church environment all their lives. A few years ago, my wife and I started throwing out a simple question, almost every Sunday: So, what did you think about the sermon?
Many times I would get silence. Sometimes a grunt or “where are we going to eat?” But I’ve also seen several wonderful discussions born out of this basic question. My kids have surprised me. I didn’t realize what deep thinkers they have become. They often bring up points and questions to which I don’t have a great answer. Some of their questions have even challenged my core, fundamental beliefs. But I never would have discovered these things about my kids, if it weren’t for the following two things:
My kids aren’t perfect and neither am I. At times, they will speak out of ignorance or lack of experience, and other times they leave me saying, “out of the mouth of babes.” I will try to steer our discussions by asking other questions, in hopes to broaden their views within a bigger picture. Sometimes that helps and sometimes—it doesn’t. And often I see a bigger picture too, one I wasn’t really expecting. And kudos to my wife for challenging me in these areas also.
As adults, parents, even grandparents, we can keep learning and growing. We can give many valuable things to this newer generation, but we can also receive from them. How quickly we forget that we once were that “younger generation.” There’s always a younger and an older generation.
Thank God for both, and thank God for Sunday sermons.