Both of my parents turned 80 years of age this year, Dad during the summer, Mom today. They have been and are good parents by any objective measure.
So on this Thanksgiving Day I am thankful for God’s gift of good parents, something for which I can take no credit. It’s purely God’s blessing, my parents’ grace, and my benefit.
Both of my parents have been Christian people since their youth, and they both introduced me to the faith as a child and took me to every conceivable church event since I was born. What I’m saying is that I grew up in a “Christian home” in the best sense of the phrase.
I never had to doubt my parents’ love, commitment, “being there,” or support. These things were a given, and they continue to be so. They disciplined me as a kid, taught me right from wrong and pushed me toward the right even when I’d have preferred the wrong.
My parents aspired to my higher education before I did, and they paid for much of it. They wanted me to go to a Christian institution of higher learning long before I considered the issue one way or another. They prayed for me to “find” a Christian wife before I got around to thinking about it and before the Lord sent the right one into my life, again without me having much to do with it.
My parents have been faithful church attenders, participators, and leaders for more than sixty years. They lived out the Christian faith, thus providing an unwavering example for me, of course, but for any and everyone who cared to pay attention. No one ever fairly doubted their word or integrity. No one ever had reason to question their faithful motives and generous good works.
Assuming you were blessed with good parents, and not everyone was or is by a sad long shot, but if you were, how do you pay them back? How is it possible to repay someone who has invested an entire life into your life and who in large part helped make you what you are, or at least what you can be?
I think there’s only one way. The only way you can repay good parents is to attempt to live by the values they hold dear, to live as they hoped you would live. If you do this you perpetuate their values and their goals into the third and the fourth generation. You affirm and honor the wisdom of how they’ve chosen to live. You extend their legacy.
I haven’t robbed banks or done physical harm to anyone, thankfully, but then again, I don’t offer myself as a model of the best Christian living. But I do remember, consciously or at times subconsciously, what my parents taught me by word and deed and I’ve tried to live to that standard. Better yet, my wife and I have passed my parents’ Christian values to our own children and they are living out their faith.
Parents, including good ones, don’t all get the privilege of turning 80. But when they do it is a good thing to celebrate long lives lived as unto the Lord. These are my parents, good parents at 80. These are people who have nothing to be ashamed of and who’ve blessed me, my sister, our families, and many more. Now they are modeling how to “finish well” and God grant that as long as he gives me to live I will walk in their footsteps.
© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2011
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