No. 1232



After you read what I have to share today, you are probably going to say that Jim has quit preaching and gone to meddling. Well, what I am going to say may not be popular in some circles, but it is still something that needs to be said.
To be sure, I am part of the older generation; you know the one whose tithes and offerings pay most of the bills for our churches, and I am not as efficient on using IPhones, social media and most of the other electronic devices that our children can multi-task in their sleep. We are now in the modern age of technology, and if we older adults are going to join the conversation, we have to learn how to use these new devices.
But there is also a down-side to this issue that has developed, and that is what I want to talk with you about, especially if you have children and grandchildren. In the past few weeks, on several occasions, I have heard older people, mostly grandparents, tell about having their children and grandchildren come to visit them and they reported that there was scarcely a word exchanged between them. They say the grandkids just sit over in the corner with their eyes glued to their smart phone and their thumbs texting a message that goes back and forth, almost as fast as one can talk.
This is not good, because over the past 200-plus years, grandparents who love their grandkids have been able to establish a relationship with them, have long talks and share a lifetime of wisdom they learned the hard way. Now I believe you will agree that this is a lot better than kids learning from other kids. But there is a lot more involved than this. It goes back to the economic principle I mentioned earlier, and it really comes down to a matter of respect. When you think about the thousands of dollars grandparents spent to rear their children and the love they have for them, they deserve more than to be ignored when grandkids come to visit. And it is up to the parents of these children to make sure this happens. Almost all kids are smart enough to understand this if parents will sit down and talk with them about this issue.
On a somewhat humorous note, a conversation around the kitchen table went like this. Grandpa said he came from a long line of farmers and his son became a very good teacher. One of them ventured the question, “What will our grandkids be?” At this point Grandpa spoke up and said, “Well, it had better be something that requires super strong thumbs.” Will Rogers once said, “It is just as important to be reminded as it is to be educated.” There is no doubt about it: our children will be the leaders and the future of this great nation. What we teach them and what they learn is vital to our very survival as a nation.
As I thought about this, I was reminded of a poem written by Dorothy Law Nolte titled “Children Learn What They Live,” that is very germane to this conversation. “If a child lives with criticism, he learns to condemn. If a child lives with hostility, he learns to fight. If a child lives with ridicule, he learns to fight. If a child lives with shame, he learns to feel guilty. If a child lives with tolerance, he learns to be patient. If a child lives with encouragement, he learns confidence. If a child lives with praise, he learns to appreciate. If a child lives with fairness, he learns justice. If a child lives with security, he learns to have faith. If a child lives with approval, he learns to like himself. If a child lives with acceptance and friendship, he learns to find love in the world.” When we teach our children the right things, they will make us proud.
(Editor’s Note: JIM DAVIDSON is an author, public speaker, syndicated columnist and founder of the Bookcase for Every Child project. Since its inception in 1995, Jim’s column has been self-syndicated to over 375 newspapers in 35 states, making it one of the most successful in the history of American journalism.)