So here is the second of the three-parter.
Yesterday I mentioned the first point in a sermon we heard on Sunday about what the next generation needs: Wisdom and Knowledge. As an educator I agree. Our children need to learn How to Live more than they need to learn How to Make a Living. Else what is to stop them rioting, joining gangs or believing all they have to achieve in life is a record deal?
Secondly then, we heard that the next generation needs to learn Character as a moral compass. Learning to do the right thing, especially in tough situations. The Telegraph today suggests that women have a better tuned moral compass than men, and that those in their early sixties are at the peak of their intellectual and moral powers. The old and wise officially have something to teach us. Didn’t we know that already?
Who were the wise people in your life?
I remember my grandad as an old and wise man. He wasn’t always old, but he happened to be by the time I met him. Life had taught him a lot and his character had been finely tuned. What passed down to me from him, primarily through my father, were values of hard work, faith, dry humour and attention to spelling. Even though I didn’t spend much time with him, I had huge respect for him. I am certain Grandad learnt his moral compass from growing up in the environment he did. He wrote many things down in his memoirs, and I am grateful today to be able to read his story. I personally think everyone should write memoirs. Not everyone is ready to learn others’ wisdom (or even life experiences) in the time frame they have to talk with them and there is so much good we can pass on to our families through our stories by recording it.
An important turning point in my Grandad’s life was when he became a Christian as a teenager, thanks to wisdom worked out by a young doctor, family and older lads around him who showed that the Christian life was not only normal but desirable. After this Grandad felt a lot of peace and the Bible began to make sense to him. He was attending a church called Latchett Hall, whose history one can see online now.
Grandad grew in character and learned maturity through responsibility. He fought in the war, married and had four sons, worked hard to support his family and tried live his faith by example. He was solid. He was someone I am proud of and proud to be associated with.
And now my brother, his grandson, is coming to the end of his time training in mission and is about to start employment at the same site, working with Youth For Christ in Epping Forest. One generation impacting on another. My brother coming back to the place Grandad grew in faith and invested in young people. Through much effort by others around him, primarily our parents and the youth leaders at the church we grew up in, much has been invested in my brother. He has grown in knowledge, wisdom and character. He has resisted, and would be the first to admit it, but he is solid too. I am proud of him and proud that he can re-invest in Epping Forest and in training up new generations there in the way they should go.