What do you believe?
What do you think is best?
Chances are, if you truly believe it and think it’s best, whatever it is, you want your children to follow in your footsteps.
But what are you doing about it?
I was reading in the Bible this morning how in just a couple generations, the Jews had completely turned away from God.
Judges 2:10 says, “After that whole generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation grew up, who knew neither the LORD, nor what he had done for Israel.” (NIV)
Now, no matter what your religious leanings are, there’s a lesson there for us all. In just a couple generations, the nation of Israel had fallen away from their beliefs.
I got to thinking about what our own country was like just a few generations ago. When my grandparents were young. Their values and morals. And just how different things are now. A LOT can change in just a few generations.
Whether you believe it’s a good change or not, the fact is, there’s been a drastic change in the last 80 years. And there will probably be more as we go forward.
So, how can we pass on our knowledge, our beliefs, our values, to the next generation? How can we ensure that our children have the best chance of believing as we do?
The answer to that also can be found in the Bible.
Deuteronomy 6:7 says, “Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” (NIV)
Of course, this verse is talking about God’s laws, but the principle is the same for every value we hold dear.
We have to talk to our children. We have to teach our children.
It’s not enough to just show them. Yes, our example is very important. We need to live out what we believe. But to expect our children to follow in our footsteps just by observing us is walking a dangerous road.
They’re never too young to teach the why.
Why do you believe what you believe?
Why do you do what you do?
Why do you live the way you live?
Sure, when they are young, they won’t understand. They will follow you because they love you and because they know no other way.
That’s why we have to talk to them. To teach them about our way of life. About your values and beliefs.
Because one day they are going to grow up. One day they are going to look around and see that the rest of the world doesn’t live like your family. And if you haven’t prepared them for that, they will have a much harder time holding onto the values that you hold so dear.
Now, this is a homesteading blog, so I don’t want to get too preachy, but in the long run, do I really care if my children follow in our homesteading footsteps? Well, I hope they do. I believe this type of life is a very good one. But I know that there’s something in life so much more important than organic veggies and sustainable living. I believe that following God is the most important thing.
And I want my children to believe the same thing.
I am reminded of the first episode of season 2 of the TV show Alone. It is a survival show where the contestants are up against nature and their own psyches completely alone in the wilderness. They can tap out at any time. The last man standing wins half a million dollars.
In episode 1, they showed a man who bragged about how good he was going to do. He had the skills, he said. He wasn’t afraid, he said. He bragged about how if he met a bear, someone would have to come to the bear’s rescue.
What happened when he got to the wilderness and encountered actual bears (or rather the evidence that they were close by)? You guessed it, he bailed. As much as he bragged about it, he wasn’t actually prepared for there to be bears out there.
I see passing on our values much the same way. It’s easy for people to say they believe something, but as soon as they come up to a difficulty or hardship, they bail because it was harder than they really expected.
If we truly want our children (or anyone we are mentoring) to follow in our footsteps, we need to teach them not only that there are bears in the world, but how to handle them.
Talk to your children, folks. Teach them. It’s a big job, a hard job, yes.
But one with some awesome rewards!