Generation to Generation – Story Advice


img_0082“A generation which ignores history has no past and no future.” –Robert Heinlein

by Gary

Warning: if you don’t want my advice, don’t proceed!

Our theme for our church family yesterday was Generation to Generation. We focused on how each generation should be passing down their stories of achievements, challenges, over-comings, and failures. And most importantly, generations should be passing down the story of God and the stories of His presence. We also talked about how these stories should passed on with honesty, not pretending we know all the answers or that we understand all of our ways or God’s ways.

With that theme in mind, I wrote 5 pieces of advice and shared them yesterday. The advice is mostly focused on how older generations can relate to teens. That’s the angle from which I usually think of things since I spend most of my waking hours thinking of how I can help teens. So if you’re older than a teen, see if this advice can change or adjust your approach to things. If you’re a teen, read the advice and then decide to let the older people in your life tell you stories; in fact, ask them for stories! The stories of our lives strengthen the foundation of our life and make us real to each other.

If you’re a parent having trouble with your teen, this advice will help you. If you’re a teen having trouble with your parents, then try to encourage your parents to be more real to you; not easier on you necessarily, but more willing to share the stories behind their rules, decisions and expectations. Parents, try not to have arbitrary rules, but rather have your life experiences and your story help you decide appropriate expectations of your teens. And then share the stories and the reasons. Don’t leave your teens in the dark on your reasoning or you’ll make them feel victim to random rules.

Here are the 5 pieces of advice. These are a reflection of 13 years of watching teens and parents, of reading, of praying, of failing and of some succeeding.

~Future generations will forgive us for being flawed but they won’t forgive us for being dishonest. Tell your story honestly.

~One of the top complaints from teens about adults is that they try to appear to know it all and that adults expect respect instead of working to earn respect. Sharing your story will help both this things.

~This generation wants to know ‘why’. “Because I said,” isn’t good enough because there’s no story to it. Tell your story as it applies to guidance, discipline and spirituality.

~Don’t lean on your authority when times get tough. Lean into your relationships and into your story. People will lean back to you instead of leaning away from you.

~Build a culture in your home that’s strong enough to overcome popular culture. Your story must be more engaging and more real than the other luring stories of our culture. Whoever captures their heart, owns their attention, attitudes and actions. Their heart will be captured by whoever is most real to them.

 Never forget that the people around you will value what you value. If you value stories and communication, they will too.

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4 Comments

Filed under New Thoughts

4 responses to “Generation to Generation – Story Advice

  1. Hmm.. Interesting. Would you say the same would apply to the church itself in terms of the idea of church tradition and fathers?

  2. Hey Ben-

    I think the same ideas apply to church for sure. I’m not sure what I want to pass on is what I’d describe as ‘traditions’ but that may just be semantics. I think we have the obligation to tell the story of God to the world, in all the ways we understand it and in all the ways we’re confused by it. One of the things that makes Christians unreal is when we pretend to (or mistakenly believe that we…) completely and unquestioningly understand Him and His ways. We have to be honest in the telling of the story of who we are.

    I was at a preaching conference last fall at Lipscomb where one of the key note speakers said that the church should function as the grandparents of our culture: as the people who tell the history and the stories of humanity in a way that affects future generations. I like that thought and hope we can better live up to it.

  3. Kim

    Thought provoking as always. You can never go wrong opening a post with a Heinlein quote…

    This post comes on the heels of a deep meditative prayer cycle about the nature of humans connecting to humans (and also to the trees, animals, things, places and so on).

    I miss storytelling around the campfire…that is where I think the generations meet on equal ground. 🙂

  4. missbuss

    You’re going to be a great parent to teenagers. I know I have no qualifications for this comment, but I really truly feel what you’ve outlined is so true. For some reason it seems that many of my parent’s generation tend to accept things for what they are and do little questioning of authority, and it also seems to me that is the expectation they have of my generation and the current lot of teens walking around these days. It’s just doesn’t work that way with us, and maybe it’s wrong of us to not be more submissive to the powers that be, but we were raised to be free thinkers and you can’t say “Because I said so” to a free thinker. It’s makes us miserable and we feel blocked in and unengaged. You are so right about making the home a place stong enough to overcome popular culture. I really think if some parents tried more to teach living good, instead of making rules to follow, children would learn to act on principle instead of by programmed response. I just really pray for mine and Craig’s sake that we can find a good balance when that day comes so that we can raise children that grow to be people of principle and good faith and love. And not the mushy kind of love but the agape kind.

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