The Next Generation Is at My House

by Greg Payne

I’m 48 years old, and this year something is happening that I really didn’t expect.  It’s happened before, but not recently.  In fact, the last time I think I felt like this was about nine years ago.

I miss my Mom.  She passed away eleven years ago.

I think this year, she has come to my mind more often than in the last few years because I’ve seen her.  I’ve seen her spirit of adventure in my oldest daughter who climbed into a boat and went over a class IV series of rapids armed with a paddle, absolutely no experience, and a perpetual smile.  I’ve seen her determination in my youngest daughter who carefully unwraps sore feet after ballet class, and then looks up to ask me when she gets to take the next class. I’ve seen her love of God’s creation as my kids both laid out gardens this spring, planted seed, built trellises, and covered the young plants from the late frost with the hope of harvesting tomatoes, radishes, lettuce, and peas.

When I tell them that they must have inherited traits from their grandmother, they giggle. I think it helps them understand that they were loved and prayed about before they were ever aware of it.

I’m sure you’ve heard the people at Orange talk a lot about how one generation influences the next. That’s true! My mother put the idea in me that God is a God of joy. She helped me to see that He put us here to swing on hanging vines, jump into ice cold springs, and make up reasons to go to Dairy Queen. She always helped me to see that no bad day could survive after attacking it with a piece of pie and a little bit of laughter.

I miss her. And sometime this year, I became aware that I am still learning some lessons she has left for me. I think maybe the last thing she taught me is that one generation does not only influence the next but our faith echoes into our children’s children.

If you are a parent, I don’t have to tell you that your job is important—maybe the most important. Thank you. You are doing a great job. Even when you feel like you aren’t. Your influence will go far even when your kids aren’t listening, have to be told twice, and leave the door open for the fourth time that day. The lessons you think your kids are tuning out may be the ones that become most important to them someday.

Greg Payne is a multi-talented creative writer for Orange and 252 Basics. He has been married for 17 years, has two daughters and two unnamed dogs. He is a grill and smoke enthusiast, tree house builder, vacation planner, and Mario Brothers competitor