Tell me my story – 1: Family stories show respect.
A history professor once told my husband Ray:
If you don’t know the past, you don’t know who you are.
I think he’s right.
I was privileged to speak at a retreat for homeschooling mamas a few weeks ago. The organizer requested that I speak on the topic: “Tell me my story.”
I realized during my preparation for giving that talk that telling family stories to your children is a way to show respect — for your parents, your grandparents, and all the past generations of your family. Telling your children their family story shows them that those people were important. Their lives matter. Telling children their story is a way to:
Honor your father and mother
(which is the first commandment with a promise),
so that it may be well with you,
and that you may live long on the earth.
In my years of spending time with homeschooling families, I have heard much more about children obeying the first verse of Ephesians 6 . . .
Children, obey your parents in the Lord,
for this is right.
. . . than I have about parents obeying verses 2 and 3. Sometimes I wonder if we homeschoolers have concentrated on our nuclear families — ourselves and our children at home — without enough emphasis on the generations who came before us. We have spent much time thinking about our children and our future generations and perhaps not enough time honoring past generations.
The ancient Israelites were constantly reminded of those who had gone before. They didn’t worship their ancestors, but they honored them. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were far from perfect, but still they were worthy of honor. Each of us should look deeply into our hearts and examine how we are honoring our parents and grandparents.
- Are they lonely?
- Do they long for more time with us?
- Do they have needs we could meet and should be meeting?
- Are we making them a priority?
While wanting our children to honor their father and mother, are we setting them a good example? Will we be pleased twenty years from now if your children treat you the way you are treating your parents and grandparents — and those of your husband?
Ray and I were in a conversation recently with some folks several years older than we are. We talked about texting and phone calls with our children. The oldest man in the group said, “I prefer to communicate eye to eye.”
I am grateful for the way my parents made sure that we spent lots of time with our grandparents — and aunts and uncles and cousins.
Our children are soaking up our example. I am encouraged by the multi-generational teachings in these passages.
Listen to your father who begot you,
And do not despise your mother when she is old.
Buy truth, and do not sell it,
Get wisdom and instruction and understanding.
The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice,
And he who sires a wise son will be glad in him.
Let your father and your mother be glad,
And let her rejoice who gave birth to you.
Give me your heart, my son,
And let your eyes delight in my ways.
Grandchildren are the crown of old men,
And the glory of sons is their fathers.
But the lovingkindness of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting
on those who fear Him,
And His righteousness to children’s children,
To those who keep His covenant
And remember His precepts to do them.