Influence

Influence (CaD 1 Ki 15) Wayfarer

[Abijah] committed all the sins his father had done before him.
1 Kings 15:3 (NIV)

Wendy and I have the joy of having our children and grandchildren stay with us for a few weeks. Because they currently live on the other side of the ocean, it’s always special to have this time together. The house is a mess, there’s lots of noise, and there’s a lot of activity. I love it.

Our grandson, Milo, turned five this past Sunday. It’s fascinating to watch his young personality emerge and develop. He feels big feels, and he expresses those emotions on a grand scale. He expresses things I would never expect from someone his age. I know many adults who are not as in tune with their feelings, nor can they express them the way five-year-old Milo does. I love watching him grow up and watching his parents deftly navigate the turbulent emotional waters. Their calm and peaceful influence is impressive to observe.

With today’s chapter, the author of Kings enters the back-and-forth reigns of the various kings of the Northern Kingdom of Israel and the Southern Kingdom of Judah. The author uses a repeated pattern. First, he identifies when the King ascended the throne in relation to who was on the throne in the other kingdom. Second, he establishes whether the King did good or evil in the eyes of the Lord based on his loyalty to God or pursuit of pagan religion and worship. There may be a mention of an important event during his reign (e.g. war or battle), or even a random trivial fact (e.g. King Asa’s feet were diseased in old age).

When I read this morning that Abijah, son of Jereboam, “committed all the sins his father had done before him,” I couldn’t help but conclude that he was “a chip off the old block.” Parents influence children. Children often do exactly what their parents model. Abijah did what his father did.

My thoughts in the quiet this morning are actually pretty simple. At this point on life’s road, parenting is more of an advisory position. That doesn’t mean, however, that I don’t have influence. Yesterday morning, Milo quietly opened the door to my office as I was reading and preparing to write my post. I beckoned for him to come and sit on my lap. Curious, he began asking me about the book I was reading and what I was doing in my office. I told him about my time in the quiet each morning reading, writing, and having conversations with God. He didn’t seem particularly interested in the details, which was fine. He was keenly interested to be on grandpa’s lap and get my assurance that I would be chasing him later in the day in a game we call “running around in a circle.” I assured him we would, and we did – multiple times.

Along my life journey, I’ve come to the realization that the influence I have on my children (and grandchildren) is in the person they see me being every day, over time along with the person I am with them in the relationship. They will have to make their own life choices. I will, however, give them a template to follow (or not follow) with my habits, my behaviors, my words, and my interactions with them.

If you know anyone who might be encouraged by today’s post, please share.

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