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Passing the Mantle

My sister got married a couple of weeks ago. Talk about a gorgeous bride and a beautiful wedding! I think the only wedding I’ve ever liked more is my own. As one of her maids of honor, I tried to fulfill my honor-ish duties. Like totally indulge in our spa day and have a front row seat to her present opening at bridal showers. I tried to play the part and smile really pretty when welcoming people to the wedding and not lock my knees during the ceremony. But there was one thing I made sure to do. I made sure that before her wedding day we had “The Talk.”

Don’t worry, I am not going into any details. But “The Talk” was a catalyst to a whole new way of thinking for me. I’m a pretty shy person, but amidst all of those awkward moments when we couldn’t help but laughing or covering our faces as we said something, I recognized something beautiful taking place. Something sacred. Something we’re losing as a culture. The verbal, relational passing of a mantel, so to speak. The intentional holding-the-door-open for a rite of passage.

There are so many things that we can only learn through experience. But then there are so many things we don’t have to learn so harshly if only someone verbally walked us through it. Have you ever been in that situation, where you look around you in a very typical but very real season in life and feel like, “why didn’t someone just tell me it would be like this?”

Technology has brought us to a season where we can learn almost anything online. If we need to know what to substitute for baking powder, no problem. If we want to find out a particular child development milestone, it’s about two seconds away. If we need to look up a health symptom, there’s a hundred medical sites lined up for us to browse. I love this!

What, Micah? You don’t know what a flamingo looks like? Let me show you!

But I admit, I tend to use this as a replacement for good old face to face conversation. It’s been said a million times, but we’ve traded in something sacred for our technological advances. There’s a beauty in the slow paced, teaching of life’s milestones. The moments of watching, questioning, listening, and hearing real stories of mom’s, grandma’s, sister’s, or other significant people in our lives are not only nice feelings. They’re essential to our ability to fulfill these stages of our lives.

If you haven’t already noticed, I’m all about relationship. This is actually something I had to learn. I’m naturally a loner and would rather crawl into a hole than ask a question and risk looking stupid. But when I had Micah and I started breast feeding, I knew I couldn’t do this on my own. Let me tell you what – the fullness I received in opening myself up to transparent, verbal community was immeasurable. Yes, awkward sometimes. Yes, valuable always.

Allowing for the generational openness is like reaching one hand up to grasp all of the importance of the past and reaching one hand down to give it to our children. We can’t let the ease of technology break the chain. It goes deeper than simply learning to swaddle a baby, or how to breast feed or potty train. If we get into the habit of transparency and teachability for ourselves, we can impart to our kids also. We can hold onto the value of face to face relationship.

How will my kids learn about appropriate boundaries? Who will teach them about sex and purity? Who will guide them through overcoming sin? How will they learn to operate in their giftings and hear God’s voice?

Davy and I don’t want it to be through the Internet. We want it to be through intentional, good old face to face conversation, where we can get to the heart of a matter instead of just the information. Sometimes we’ll have to laugh and cover our eyes through the awkwardness, but it’s worth it to us to endure those moments because we want to pass the mantle and we want to do it right.

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