Share your story from each decade of your life
A six-year-old boy was at the veterinarian’s office with his dog. He asked the doctor why dogs don’t live as long as people? The doctor answered the child’s question with a question, “Well, what do you think?”
And the little boy said, “People are born so they can learn how to live a good life, like loving everybody all the time and being nice. Dogs already know how to do that, so they don’t have to stay around as long.”
And I think there’s some truth to that. We become the accumulation of the time that we spend on the planet. None of us know how many weeks remain. We must aspire to live every day intentionally for Christ.
Your greatest legacy is what you leave in your children,
not what you leave for your children.
As parent or grandparent, you have a passion of concern for the generation coming behind you. If you can teach your children and grandchildren what to expect in the decades to come, you can not only help them make a decision for Christ but also teach them to live like Christ. The evidence is not only are they a Christian, but then they’re also choosing to be intentional in how they live.
4 Statements to Consider
- Your journey is unique to you in many ways.
- You can’t redo a decade.
- You make decisions, but God determines the results.
- You can help the willing learners coming behind you by sharing your journey.
I used the word willing because not all the learners coming behind us are willing to learn from those of us who have gone ahead. In our culture we disrespect wisdom and years. Age is highly respected, and wisdom is honored in many other cultures across the globe. But when you get much beyond 40 or 50 years old in our culture, it’s easy to become irrelevant in the minds of younger people and yet there’s wisdom to be learned.
James, one of Jesus’ disciples said, “You do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that” (James 4:14-15 NIV).
I share these with you to think about while talking to your young people, to help them understand what they’re facing in the decade to come in their lives.
Sharing your own story with them of what God has done
in each decade your life helps them experience Christ.
King Solomon asked God for wisdom. He could have asked for anything, and God would have given it to him, but wisdom was the one thing he wanted (1 Kings 3:7-9). In his old age he shared wisdom with us much like we are talking about doing with the generations to come through the decades of life.
Solomon wrote the songs of Solomon when he was a young man and Proverbs in his middle years. He was an old man when he wrote Ecclesiastes 12, and in it he gives us a picture of what old age is like.
- Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth … (Ecclesiastes 12:1 NKJV).
- While the sun and the light,
- The moon and the stars,
- Are not darkened,
- And the clouds do not return after the rain (Ecclesiastes 12:2 NKJV).
Most theologians think he’s talking about the mental fog. You start to have different ways of thinking. You realize the mind isn’t quite as quick.
- In the day when the keepers of the house tremble, represents when your arms start to tremble.
- And the strong men bow down, talking about your how your legs start to give way.
- Then the grinders cease because they are few, referencing your teeth.
- And those that look through the windows grow dim. Your eyes are your windows, right?
Solomon is telling us through poetry what the 80-plus decade is like (Ecclesiastes 12:3-4 NKJV).
- When one rises at the sound of a bird, means you don’t sleep as well as you get older. You realize just little things can wake you up.
- And all the daughters of music are brought low. Many living in this decade have trouble hearing. They ask, “What did you say?”
- Also they are afraid of height, And of terrors in the way.
- When the almond tree blossoms, The grasshopper is a burden, and desire fails.
- For man goes to his eternal home, And the mourners go about the streets (Ecclesiastes 12:5 NKJV).
Listen to what Solomon says at the end of this chapter, after he has laid it all out for us, to remember the creator of the days of your youth before these days come. Then he closes the chapter with these words: Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter … Fear god and keep his commandments for this is the whole duty of man (Ecclesiastes 12:13 ESV).
You have an opportunity to reach the next generation with the wisdom for the decades of life to come. Life is short. And some of us need to be sharing what we’ve experienced with our kids and grandkids. Tell them, “This is what you’re going to face in your 20s, 30s, 40s …. Yes, it’s a different culture and we live in different times, but human beings are human beings, and you need to prepare for the future.”