You, however, must teach what is appropriate to sound doctrine. Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance. Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live. – Titus 2: 2-3From Martin Hayward:
Now I am retired I am so very grateful to God that my close family all live nearby in Carshalton; other older people often remind me how blessed I am as they rue the fact that their sons, daughters and family live hundreds of miles away, maybe even abroad. But this time of lockdown is such a great leveller: we are now all physically distanced from those we love and have to savour every contact we do have by phone, Skype, Zoom, text or even a handwritten note.
But in spite of social distancing it remains the responsibility and great privilege of the older generation to set an example to younger people. And there’s so much more to it than words – unspoken communication within families is more powerful than most of us realise. Children are especially quick to pick up signals from us which we are not even conscious that we are giving off!
Maybe your grown-up children are key workers juggling with work responsibilities and caring for their own families at home. Perhaps they are worried by the financial implications of it all. Maybe you have grandchildren who are trying to channel their bursting energy, missing their friends and having to keep focused on schoolwork or reading lists from Uni.
And maybe they’re all scared. Scared for themselves and scared for you. Scared and questioning their faith.
So how do they see you coping? Do they see you relying on God and staying positive? Do they know you are praying for them? Do they get the unspoken signals that you are remaining temperate, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance? Will they think you are reverent in the way you live? Now is the best opportunity we may ever have to demonstrate the reality of our faith in Jesus and to set an example. Actions and attitudes speak louder than words.