I was sharing my thoughts about this economy with a friend yesterday, and both of us know people who've already been affected by cutbacks, job losses, rate hikes, price increases and slumps in their investments. It's affected each of us in some way.
But I keep thinking about our parents and/or grandparents, depending on your age--that generation Tom Brokaw dubbed, "The Greatest Generation That Ever Lived." They didn't rise from a generation of wealth and prosperity. They rose from The Great Depression, they had known hunger, homelessness, joblessness and fear. And yet they allowed those lessons to make them better-- more frugal, more generous, more grateful, more patriotic.
Some might have expected that the excruciatingly lean years might have made them jaded about their government, fearful about starting a family, angry at God. Instead, they longed for a home filled with children, and they raced to answer the call of duty in defense of their own freedoms as well as those of other nations. They began by flooding the churches and wearying the Lord with their prayers. And He answered. He heard them . . . and He answered.
So what will we allow our circumstances to make of us? As always, there are important lessons to be learned from the past.
What would happen if we banked our movie ticket money and took a walk with our spouse and children instead? Our daughter and son-in-law are doing this regularly, and she loves the time it gives them to talk and laugh and fall back in love daily.
What if we grabbed our families, dusted off that old concept and dressed in our, "Sunday best" and said, "Hey, we're starting a new family tradition every Sunday morning. It's called attending church together."
What if we sat down to home cooked meals again? Maybe they won't be as creative or swell as restaurant food, but what if Dad or Mom prayed over them, thanking God and asking Him to bless them? Maybe they'd actually seem like the greatest meals and the greatest moments ever.
What if we sat down and really talked about those old-time virtues like honesty, integrity, service, holding one another accountable, with love and forgiveness?
And what if we visited an old fort, read the inscription on some monuments, studied something about our country, and spent the patriotic holidays being patriotic. What if we learned about the Constitution and found candidates who believed and were pledged to upholding it!
And what if we and the kids washed an old tin can out and set it on the counter, tossing our coins in it as we learned to save and work together for what we want? During some especially difficult times, we did this. It was our Fast Offering can--the money we set aside to help those less fortunate. As the children watched that can fill up, they felt they were participating in something important, and they knew that if we were still in a position to help others, then we were really okay.
So what will we let these times make of us? We could become an incredible generation. We need an incredible generation, right now.