Monday, March 19, 2007

The Blessing of Family

It's finished! Yes, Letters to a Samuel Generation: The Collection is finally available in hardcover. I'm excited. It can already be ordered from Amazon, and will be available from Little Dozen as soon as my sister gets home so we can set up the PayPal links ;).

In the meantime, I wanted to share the lone SamGen essay that didn't make the book. It was written in the early years, and looking back, it doesn't quite fit the discipleship theme that SamGen grew into. However, it was special to me when I wrote it and still is now. Without further ado:


by Rachel Starr Thomson
originally written November 2001

Have you been to the movies lately?

Have you spent any time with teenagers?

Have you listened to the tone of the media?

If so, you may have noticed an alarming trend. Society believes, knowingly or not, that family is "uncool."

Youth leaders tell teens that their parents are out of touch, so they should come to their pastor if they have problems.

Older siblings spend oodles of energy trying to ditch their younger sisters and brothers in order to spend time at the mall, the movies, the bowling alley... anywhere where there are friends and no family.

Reunions, birthday celebrations, and Christmas get-togethers are seen as annoying obligations. And no amount of heartwarming, shallow movies about love and family seem to be able to offset the damage of this general slide away from family ties.

In church we hear about how curses are passed through the generations; at the therapist's we hear about how parents have permanently scarred their children and doomed them to life in and out of prisons, marriages, and happiness. This is probably true. But it is one side of the picture.

And as a product of the other side, I would like to protest.

Oh, my family has problems. We're human. But let me tell you about the blessings that have come through the generations.

When I was a little child, I had aunts and uncles around me constantly. I grew up feeling protected and loved. I didn't have to have anyone's constant attention. Just knowing they were there was security. About six years ago, my family moved away from our home in Canada and went to California, and I lost that shelter. Three months ago, I moved back home. A week ago I went to a cousin's thirteenth birthday party, and most of the aunts and uncles were there. And once again, I felt that shelter.

Every day, my paternal grandparents take a walk and pray for each of their grandchildren by name. Every day at evening devotions, my maternal grandparents ask the Lord to draw their children and grandchildren to Him. My walk with the Lord has been blessed in many unusual ways. And I don't have to wonder why. My mother, grandmothers, and aunts have taught me about being a woman, and more especially a lady. My uncles open doors for me. Uncle Stephen took me on my first date when I turned sixteen. Dad would take me out for coffee and ask about my needs and my interests every so often, just checking up on me. My cousins have taught me to lighten up and have fun, and to love people no matter what. My sisters and brothers have taught me to look for the good in people even when the bad is glaringly obvious. And when I've found the good, it's been beautifully, brilliantly, wonderful.

In my mother's Mennonite family tree, there are martyrs for Christ. In my father's Scottish history, there are preachers, pastors, and Sunday School teachers. For generations, there is prayer.

I have ten siblings to teach me about teamwork and growing up, eight aunts to giggle and trade stories with, four grandparents to show me what true priorities should be, six uncles to treat me like a princess, over forty cousins to laugh with, love with, and live with, and two parents to train me up in the way I should go. I am a product of generational blessings and generational grace. Have there been problems passed down? Yes. But I believe the good things outweigh the problems. To every one out there who thinks family isn't cool: Please, please, start building new relationships with those God has given you. Serve your sisters and brothers. Love your nieces and nephews. Pray for your children and grandchildren. It isn't ever too late to start.

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Blogger Ted Gossard said...

Great call to family and reminder of family blessing in God. The older I get the more I realize the blessing of family, even with the flaws.

6:56 p.m.  
Anonymous kailani said...

I didn't know that families were not in anymore. I don't know what I'd do without mine!

Here from the Carnival of Family Life

5:07 a.m.  
Anonymous Lisa said...

Great essay. It is sad that families seem to be "uncool", let's hope that changes. Families are a very important part of life.

Here via the carnival of family life.

9:12 p.m.  
Anonymous Kerri said...

Very cool to hear about families like this. I hope my kids have as great memories and love for our family, immediately and extended, as you have for yours. :)

Here via CoFL

9:12 p.m.  

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