As a family, we’ve been watching a T.V show about which generation in modern history is the best. Not surprisingly, everyone thinks their generation is smarter and far better than everyone else’s. It caused me to think about Dad, whose birthday is today and how he would get frustrated with the younger generation’s failure to learn from their elder’s experiences, lessons learnt, and mistakes.
Dad’s summation was; society should take the opportunity to learn from those who may have wisdom to share from their experiences, especially regarding what works and what doesn’t.
Dad lived and worked in the gold mining town of Kalgoorlie in Western Australia for quite a few years, so I call Dad’s little pieces of wisdom that he liked to share, “Dads nuggets”. Just like a nugget of gold needs dusting off and examining closely to see its value, so also do some of my “Dads nuggets.”
Today as it’s his birthday, I’d like to share some of his classics.
1. Dream. My Dad was a dreamer. He was extremely creative, ideas person and wasn’t afraid to think outside the box, and nothing was too crazy for him. I’m grateful for having permission to “dream” from an early age and know that it’s ok to have an imagination. God, I’ve discovered, gave us the ability to dream and imagine and even says He will do far more for us than we can ask, dream, hope or imagine. (Ephesians 3:20).
Allowing and encouraging dreams also increases our capacity and motivation to get back up after a disappointment or setback. Dad experienced many disappointments in life, but I think his ability to keep dreaming helped him be one of the most tenacious people I’ve ever met.
2. Buy quality. Dad may not always have been “flush with cash”, but he was a firm believer in buying the best you can afford. He pushed against the poverty mentality and spirit that often limits people from seeking to be the best they can be and always hoped and encouraged others to be and expect better.
3. Everyone doesn’t have to see that! Dad loved the beach and working on getting an “all over tan”. However, this led to seeing some interesting sights, both for Dad and those sharing the beach with him! However, a piece of wisdom Dad gleaned from his “sunbathing” is that you should consider whether everyone needs to see you in full view – this was in reference to perhaps not everyone looks equally amazing naked! That he believed went for sunbathing and your everyday choice of clothing.
4. Travel as much as possible, to as many places as possible. Dad loved going places and believed travelling makes you “bigger on the inside”. People can become “small-minded” if they only stay at home in their comfort zone. Travelling causes us to explore, grow, believe for something, try new things, and trust both ourselves and God more.
5. Run to God. Dad was often frustrated with people not learning from other’s mistakes. He faced loss and disappointment but kept dreaming and hoping anyway.
However, I have learnt from one particular mistake my Dad made in that when we suffer hardship and life feels like it is throwing “curve balls”, don’t run from God; run to Him.
Dad, unfortunately, spent a fair amount of time being annoyed at and running from God. He figured it out in the end, but I think He would have been happier and far more peaceful in his life if he’d spent more time running towards God rather than away from Him.
Take the opportunity to gain wisdom from others, especially those older. You can learn both from their experiences, achievements and mistakes. They hope that the next generation will dream bigger, go further and achieve greater things than they ever did. That was one of my Dad’s dreams, and today I know He’s watching from heaven and cheering us on to keep running, to keep dreaming and never to give up.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” (Hebrews 12:1)
“A wise son hears his father’s instruction, but a scoffer does not listen to rebuke.” (Proverbs 13:1)
“Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future.“ (Proverbs 19:20)
“Listen to your father who gave you life, and do not despise your mother when she is old.“ (Proverbs 23:22)
Prayer: Lord, please help me to learn from those who have gone before me. Thank you that all of heaven is cheering me on today as I run my race. In Jesus name Amen.