WARNING: This article is a bit lengthy. Please ensure you read through.
Have you ever questioned with total dismay or disgust what people ahead of you in age, status or experience did? Have you ever thought within yourself that you could and would do things better when it comes to your turn? Did you ever look down on your parents and blame them for their actions (or inactions) that indirectly affected you? Has it ever happened that someone you respect was rocked by a scandal, that you vowed never to be involved in, and you treated them with a condescending attitude? If not, good luck to you! But maybe your real interaction with life and the issues it brings have not started.
I have watched in complete amazement how young people, especially in the 21st century, have a near complete disdain for those ahead of them and it makes me shudder. I shudder because we have forgotten that the older ones today were the younger ones yesterday, and the young ones today will be the older ones tomorrow. We treat our fathers with utmost disrespect in thoughts, words, attitude and worst of all, in actions.
By fathers, I mean those who are ahead of us in the things or the path we are just setting out on. It could be ministry, business, academics, politics or career. We say things like “they don’t know how to make things work” or “that’s their generation- they work hard, but we are working smart”. We take to the social media to share unproven and unprocessed information that just came into our space. We often forget that time is essential in proving the validity of an idea or opinion. We cast aspersions on what has stood the test of time. We say things like “the fact that they are getting results does not mean God is there”; but we forget that to get results, there are certain right principles that are being practiced.
Hey! Don’t get me wrong. I am not saying everything the fathers did was perfect. All I intend to do is to help you see from a different perspective. If all you see from those who have gone ahead of you is their wrong, then you have a problem.
The fathers made the best use of what they had at their disposal. Please remember that in their days, information wasn’t this much and access to it wasn’t this easy. They did their best with what they had. They studied, researched, thought and prayed- if need be, before coming up with their postulations which we now treat with disdain. These postulations whether we like it or not, is the foundation upon which we are building now. Their deep foundations are the reason our buildings have gone this high without crumbling. The least we can do is to honor them for it.
I have also observed that those who abuse the fathers end up doing the exact same thing their fathers did, however, in a different way. Talk about generational flow. They practically repeat history without knowing it until it becomes history. I have seen people repeat the mistake their biological fathers did with respect to adultery because they abused their fathers. By abuse, I don’t necessarily mean to hurl insults; I mean they treated their fathers unjustly in their hearts. Though they were Christians, they did not in any way excuse their fathers. They did not permit him to be a man. In short, they did not temper justice with mercy. As a result, they repackaged their father’s errors, just like we do things in the 21st century.
The fathers are good. They tried with their many sacrifices which I doubt we, the younger ones, could ever do. Let’s celebrate them even if it’s because they got into the race before us. I recently discovered that Terah, the father of Abraham in the Bible, took his entire family out of Ur of the Chaldeans and set out for Canaan. He indirectly confirmed what had been premonitions in the heart of Abram. While it was still to Abraham ‘the land I will show you’, to Terah it was clear that they were heading for Canaan. Terah knew; Abraham thought. The only issue was that Terah settled too soon. He dwelt in Haran and died there. Although he settled too soon, but at least, he started. For that, we should celebrate him.
I am reminded of Moses who, although did not get to the Promised Land, saw it afar off. His efforts became the building blocks for Joshua his successor. Thank God for Moses! Even the children of Israel acknowledged that God was with him. They sternly warned Joshua to have the presence of God like Moses had. Thank God Joshua knew better- he did not abuse the fathers. He knew that even though Moses did not get to the Promised Land, he deserved his honor and respect.
In this 21st century, we can learn from these two men. The fathers did their best. They produced with what they had at hand. I dare say that they produced a twenty with the ten they had which means they had one hundred percent returns. In our days, what are we going to produce with the hundred we have? They have set the standards high for us to meet. In fact, some of our parents were not practicing Christians when they got married and they have been married for over forty years. They deserve a standing ovation, because these days, even believers are struggling to make it to five years of marriage. What has changed? Values, I think.
At this point I would like to bring my argument to a close. The fathers have tried. They had values they passed on to us which, in our attempt to repackage, we have watered down. We blame them for everything without questioning ourselves. Let’s not forget that we also are acting as fathers to our younger ones who will also blame us and rubbish all the things we are head over heels for all in the name of revelation, knowledge, westernization, grace, freedom, technology, material things or even money because what you sow is what you reap.