So much has changed over time – or has it? I think the generation gaps we hear about are more like stepping-stones to building future generations. In my lifetime alone, I’ve seen technology change tremendously. I grew up with one of the first television sets – a 7″ black and white screen placed in a huge piece of furniture called a console. Today, these modes of entertainment are now almost as big as a movie screen. Computers were in the very early stages when I was a kid. A smart phone was one you had to crank to get the operator’s attention. Now all we have to do is press a button and we’re instantly connected to each other. With all the changes over time, we often forget some of the basics to life.
I remember hearing stories about the good old days when I was a child. My grandmother would talk about riding a horse and buggy to town every Sunday for church and spending the rest of the day with relatives. There were no telephones, no washing machines, dishwashers, televisions or modern conveniences, but they were still good times. Now, as a grandmother myself, I look back at the days of my youth as the good old days. My family didn’t own a car until I was 17. We went everywhere on the streetcar or we walked. Family was still important, even though we didn’t see them every week. There were enormous family reunions at least once a year and I spent most of my summers with my grandparents on their farm.
We played in the dirt and didn’t use hand sanitizer. We drank out of the same drinking glass. We never wore seat belts. We saved our money until we had enough to buy something we really wanted. Women were treated with respect – not as competitors. We made our own toys out of old cardboard boxes. We hung sheets up in the backyard and put on plays for the neighbors as entertainment. I know there are a lot of things to be thankful for in this modern age, but there will never be anything like the “good old days.” Maybe the good old days are just the good memories we save from those times.
Each generation has something to offer the next. It has to do with things like teaching integrity, respect, communicating, working together. We can let them know they need to accept responsibility for their actions, help one another, build lasting relationships, rely on God to get them through any circumstance. All those things will help to build the future. If we dwell on the negative and forget about the gifts we’ve been blessed with over time, we will never be happy.
Time changes things, but the basics remain the same, as pointed out in Luke 1:50-53.
“His mercy is from age to age, to those who fear him. He has shown might with his arm, dispersed the arrogant of mind and heart. He has thrown down the rulers from their throne but lifted up the lowly.
The hungry he has filled with good things; the rich he has sent away empty.”