John Wesley said, “What one generation tolerates, the next generation will embrace.” He was referring to sin. And we see this played out in history repeatedly. But I’d like to look at it from a different angle.
Kids continually listen, watch, and mimic us adults. And they often follow the examples they’ve been shown. Kids from violent homes are more likely to become violent. Children of alcoholics have a greater chance of having the same problem.
So if we raise a child in a critical, judgmental, or gossipy atmosphere, how is he or she likely to turn out?
I’ve seen this played out in my daughter’s family. Not the gossip and criticism. But the way they subtly pick up on things. Our grandchildren often use words, as they say, far too big for them, and always have. They’ve learned from their parents and older siblings.
Most assuredly we all want to raise loving kids. Children who care about others and treat them with kindness. Respectful and nice to have around. Well, it’s like Wesley said, “What one generation tolerates, the next generation will embrace.”
But it’s also true that what one generation embraces, the next might embrace even more.
SO WHAT IF… we applied ourselves more wholeheartedly to loving as Christ did?
WHAT IF… we learned to give up our rights, not reacting angrily or vindictively when wronged or slighted?
WHAT IF… we prayed and read God’s Word with more zeal than we give to our jobs and hobbies?
WHAT IF… we concentrated more on using our finances for God’s work — helping the poor, the widows and orphans, and spreading the Good News?
WHAT IF… we tamed our tongues and attitudes to the point that gentleness became an automatic response?
WHAT IF… we became known everywhere for showing love, mercy, and patience — even to those with whom we disagree?
WHAT IF… others started seeing us as people who don’t merely preach — but practice what they believe?
WHAT IF… we hungered and thirsted so much for justice, righteousness, and purity of heart and soul that it turned our lives upside down?
Possibly even causing us to move to a poor neighborhood just to help the needy. Or fixing up our spare room for an unwed mom. Or downsizing homes so we can give more to helping others.
What one generation truly embraces, the next will embrace even more.
Children do follow example, for good or for bad. So as parents, grandparents, or anyone who is involved with them, let’s be careful what we do and say. Kids are eating it up, and will likely put it into action.