About 2 months ago I wrote a blog with this same title. (You can find it here; A letter from a 20-something to an older generation.) I received a lot of positive feedback, so I thought I would venture a follow up with some real “how to” thoughts for impacting a younger generation. First, one last “why.” As I pondered what I would write on the subject I wrote this in my phone and it has stuck. “My peers are rarely life changing influences for me. The ones who speak most strongly into my life are often those of another generation who have chosen to walk with me through life.” Think on these words:
“Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.” Titus 2:3-5
“Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled. In everything set for them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned.” Titus 2:6-8a
May I offer you some practical “how to’s?”
*Love our kids. There is no quicker way to a parent’s heart than to love their kids well. Know their names. Hug them. Get down (or at least sit in a chair) and play with them. As you probably remember, our kids now consume so much of who we are. There is no quicker way to push us away than to make us feel like our kids are an inconvenience to you. Many of us feel like bad parents often enough. We need someone who will affirm that we are going to make it.
*Pray for us. There is great power and affirmation in knowing that someone wants to pray for you (no matter your age). Then, the most powerful thing you can do…follow up. To know someone is in our corner, fighting for us, before the throne of God is life changing.
*Invite us over to your house…with our kids. (See comment one.) We are a highly relational generation. Time together is very important.
*Invite us over to your house for an adult only evening. You will likely have to be sensitive about how you present this, but between; sports games, dance recitals, PTA meetings, cub scouts, play dates, sleepless nights and diapers, a night out with a bunch of adults does a number to make us feel human again.p>*Offer to babysit (or kidsit). Seeing a trend? Many young couples ended up here after attending WOU. That often means, no matter how good the relationship, our parents aren’t readily available to give us a night out alone. Offer us a night out and we will forever be in your debt! p>*Volunteer in Children’s ministry. This has multiple benefits. First, see comment one. To walk into church and see you in a children’s ministry room tells us instantly that you are on our team. Second, children’s ministry teams are often mostly filled with parents of the children in the ministry. This is important, but on drawback is that it often means one or both parents will not often be able to sit in service themselves. When you volunteer, you free up parents to sit, worship, and participate with the whole body.
These are just a few ideas I came up with in a few minutes. Invest in a younger generation and you will be given the voice to speak into and change a that generation. One last thought, every healthy relationship is intended to be mutually beneficial. Trust me, you will find more life, energy and joy when you begin to invest your life in others. You will come to find that you are gaining far more than you are giving.
“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up.” I Thessalonians 5:11