Walking in His Dust: The way Jesus taught his first disciples was not unique but part of a wider tradition in Judaism that began a few centuries before his time. Jesus didn’t hand his disciples a textbook or give them a course syllabus. He asked each one of them to follow him— literally, to “walk after” him. He invited them to trek the byways at his side, living life beside him to learn from him as they journeyed. His disciples would engage in life’s activities along with him, observing his responses and imitating how he lived by God’s Word. From: Walking in the Dust of Rabbi Jesus – by Lois Tverberg
Oh my…how we parents miss this opportunity to imitate Jesus in today’s culture. Not all that long ago, fathers engaged their sons in their carpentry or their farming. Later on as people moved away from the farms to the city or suburbs, dads engaged their boys in the family business, the yard work and in maintaining the house and the car. Moms involved daughters in the meals, the art of shopping sensibly, gardening, selling her produce or her handwork or simply learning a favorite hobby and reaching out to a lonely neighbor.
The chosen pace was slower and there was time to engage the children in a parent’s life work and thoughts. Because of the quality of time together and the camaraderie that was being built, there was a closeness…an extra measure of revere and respect. This enabled a parent to readily pass along to their child strong spiritual lessons and values as they went naturally about life’s routine.
Even if the child was not particularly interested at his or her age or stage…he or she listened with revere because of the ongoing relationship with dad and mom. They may not always fully “get it” but they internalized what a life of integrity and purpose should look like. Very often, that daughter or son would just naturally integrate those values into their own lives because it was what they knew. The family life they had experienced was solid and it made sense!
Our world has drastically changed, of course. We have so much more technology and with it so much opportunity. Extended families are scattered so the generational closeness is often missing. Children’s sports and other activities are a huge part of life and that means fast-paced schedules and sound bite conversations. Parents too often find themselves rushing through the house barking orders for everyone to get their stuff and get into the car while at the same time someone is desperately yelling, “Where are my cleats??!!” This modern day normal means a rushed, stressed family and little opportunity to carry on the tradition of calm meals, a fully nurturing home or parent and child bonding while mastering the yard. Home becomes a stopping place more than a place of refuge, deeply held values and closely knit relationships.
With all of our present day opportunities, family oneness could have been…should have been maintained. I think the thing we have to ask ourselves is…has it been?
If the answer is “No”…we have a great opportunity to reassess, dial it back and walk beside our kids in a brand new way!
Deuteronomy 11:18-20 (NIV) 18 Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 19 Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 20 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates,