We climbed a mountain together
I climbed a mountain last week, with some of my sons. We had to drive for two hours to get there. And then it took about three hours of walking to get the top, which was about 1km above sea level. On the way down my knees caused me plenty of pain, while my sons scrambled down like mountain goats. It wasn’t my idea at all to climb the mountain at all. My eldest son had suggested doing the walk.
Parents should be inspired by the Lord
Everyone knows that a young person is supposed to obey their father and mother. We also know that many teenagers today find this unbearable. Think of a soap opera, drama, book or film with young characters in it – conflict with adults is almost inevitable. It seems that nothing could be worse than doing what your mum or dad tells you all the time. But did you know that parents are supposed to be responsive to their children? In Ephesians 5, St Paul says that parents are not supposed to drive their children to resentment. He also says that the correction and advice that parents give their children must be ‘inspired by the Lord’. As a father I can’t just do ‘whatever I want’. Reverence for Christ is to underpin the way that parents and children relate to each other.
Squabbling makes you miserable
What do you think life is about? Does getting your own way really make you happy? Have you ever wanted to get something that your brother or your sister had? Squabbles make you miserable very quickly. Or think of the last time that you spent ages craving for something, and then finally got your hands on it? What was life a few weeks later? If you think that happiness is found in getting your own way and in ordering life to your own convenience, then circumstances will make you disappointed again and again, and again.
Life is a gift from God
We simply cannot control everything. Life is a gift to us from God. If we realise this then everything makes sense. What is more wonderful than a family that is united, whether they are going for a walk or having a meal without arguments? You might be cynical – but only if you’ve never experienced this actually happen. It is faith that recognises that Christ is present here. How else could you reasonably account for a mum and dad who don’t quarrel with each other? On our own this is impossible. It’s much easier to reach out to someone in need if you aren’t fixated on getting your own way. And what is more satisfying than really helping someone? Again, you can be cynical from the outside, but why not try it out? The next time you have an opportunity to give up what you wanted in order to put someone else first, take the opportunity and see.
God Creates every moment of our lives
Life really is amazing when you take the opportunities that come to you. We are created beings. Life works best when we realise that God creates every moment of our lives. This is just as true for a parent as it is for a young person. Happiness is not found in getting what you want, but in receiving the gifts that come to you from God. These gifts come to you through your mum and dad, and, in my case, they partly come through my sons. There is no better way to learn this receptive attitude towards life than by generously (rather than grudgingly) accepting what our parents ask of us.
The climb with my sons was great fun, even if it took it out of me. It was one of the highlights of our holiday. It’s not every day that you get to see such incredible views, or feel a sense of achievement at seeing someone learn to read a map so that you don’t get lost in the mountains!
Written by Peter Khan