Be wise, my child, and make my heart glad.
Then I will be able to answer my critics.
Proverbs 27:11 (NLT)
I happened to be visiting with a farmer and his father yesterday. Finding ourselves sitting there with a little time on our hands, I began asking questions and making some small talk. The family farm had been passed down from his great-grandfather who came to America from the old country around the turn of the 20th century. When I asked if any of his children were going to carry on the family farm, I kicked the pebble which started an avalanche.
A long, sad saga of parental woe flooded from the farmer’s mouth. One son said he wanted to take it on and carry on the family legacy, but he didn’t show any actual ambition to do any actual work or finish the degree he felt short of completing. A second son had attended a year of college here and a year of college there to study this or that but didn’t want to finish and ended up working a low paying job in the area. For reasons the father had not been told, the son lost that job and was currently unemployed. The third son was a similar story. He went to one year of community college and then quit. He apparently had no job and showed no signs of finding one. The father stared blankly out the window as he talked. You could feel the heavy weight of his heart.
I sat and quietly listened as the farmer went down his descriptive checklist of passive, undisciplined, and aimless children. I tried not to be judgmental, but to listen graciously and offer no comment. I realized that I was hearing the father’s perspective and the sons, had they been there to offer testimony, may have shared a very different story. A lone perspective rarely, if ever, offers an accurate picture of the family system.
Nevertheless, I walked away saddened by the tragic story the farmer told of his children and the empty, disappointed look in his eyes as he told it. I suddenly felt a surge of gratitude for my children and for their passion, their ambition, and their heartfelt desire to make a positive mark on their world. I felt the stark contrast between the farmer’s story and the one I get to tell.
Today, I am grateful that I am blessed with children who make my heart glad.