Young Married’s Class. Mothers of Preschoolers. Facebook. Twitter. Society has given us a structure where it is easy to find people who are just like us. It is somehow comforting to commiserate with others who are facing the same struggles we are. While I enjoy meeting people with similar interests and problems, there is a real danger in segregating yourself from people who are in a different place than you are in life.
The Bible tells us Joshua was Moses’ aide for many years before he began leading the Israelites himself. Ruth obviously admired Naomi and followed her council regarding Boaz. Esther depended upon Mordecai for advice as she navigated the world of the palace. The New Testament clearly instructs older men and women to train the younger ones.
When my daughter started kindergarten, I remember a very long list of people signed up and were almost fighting over becoming the room mothers of her class. I was a little too busy to volunteer to be room mom that year, but expressed surprise to a more experienced Mom whose youngest child was in the class.
“Don’t give it a second thought,” she said. “They will start disappearing next year and by fifth grade the school will be begging you to be room mother.” She was absolutely right. I was the class room mom for the next several years and noticed a huge drop off in parental involvement. Now that my child is a teenager, she knows girls who basically only see their parents a few minutes before bed and maybe a minute or two in the morning.
Lately, my teenage daughter and I have enjoyed watching re-runs of the old Waltons show from the 1970’s. I love laughing about how the supposed Virginians mispronounce Monticello. My daughter enjoys spotting the road we saw at the Warner Brothers Studio in CA. The best thing about the show is that it celebrates something many people no longer enjoy – several different generations having fun spending time together and learning from each other.
Sometime in the last twenty years we have almost totally lost the ability to spend time with anyone who is not our age or in the same exact spot in life as we are. I am sure it started with the 1960’s version of “Don’t trust anyone over 30.” Over the years, it has morphed into “If someone isn’t just like you, they don’t have a clue what you are going through or how to make it better.” The problem is that this attitude has also invaded our churches.
Have you ever had a “light bulb” moment? Something dawns on you for the first time and you wonder why it took you so long to realize it. I had a really disturbing one the other day. I was writing some free downloads for the readers of Parenting Like Hannah. I wanted to create a list of great stories in the Bible for girls to read. Suddenly it hit me. We teach our daughters some of the Bible stories that “star” women. Do we ever teach them what characteristics these women had? These women displayed Godly traits we and our daughters should be trying to develop in our own lives.
When I try to analyze Hannah’s decision to leave Samuel at the temple, I always wonder if she thought about who would train her child as he grew. She could have been tempted to dedicate Samuel to God without leaving him at such a young age. Even though we know Eli wasn’t exactly a great parent (at least if you judge him by his children), I have to think Hannah was comforted that Eli would encourage Samuel to follow God’s ways. Perhaps she thought Eli would mentor her young son. The one time we see Samuel turning to Eli for advice as a boy, Eli tells him to listen to God. I am sure that was what Hannah wanted Eli to do for her precious son.
When my daughter was born, I decided to make sure I had some influence on the adults she might turn to for advice or counsel. From infancy, she has had several “aunties”. They are friends of mine who I know love God and won’t undermine what we are trying to teach at home. These “aunties” have all been wonderful about giving our daughter special times and attention. Most of then have probably even put on a few pounds from all of the Girl Scout cookies they have bought from her over the years.