Influencing the Generations

Actual rose referenced in this post

Alongside the steps of our house there’s a rose bush. Admiring the plant, it occurred to me that it revealed three stages of a rose blossom’s life. There was a fresh, full, blooming rose blossom in all its color and glory. There was also a rose blossom that was older and past its prime, the colors fading, the petals starting to fall. Then there was a rosebud, budding hope, the promise of a bloom yet to be. Three generations of a rose blossom were represented on the rose bush.

I’m like the older, fading blossom, not sure I want to say I’m past my prime, but it’s a real possibility. Am I a few petals short of a full blossom? Not sure I want to admit to that either.

What I do know is that our adult children are more like the rose blossom in full bloom. They’re in what are often considered to be the most productive years of life, in the middle of their exciting and challenging work, the years of raising their children.

Those children, our grandchildren, are like the bud. They’ve yet to blossom into adulthood, full of promise of what can be, budding hope.

All of us have been assigned to a generation, coming after the generation before us and before the generation coming after us. Time designates the beginning of our journey in this world and the ending of our journey, our life but a dash between two dates, our bit of time on this terrestrial ball. We’re related to a countless string of ancestors who came before us, but haven’t related personally to any beyond, at best, our great grandparents.

Generations will follow us (that is until Christ returns, we Christians believe), an unknown number of generations, but we’ll know, at best, only two, maybe three of those generations into the future. We’re an island in the present, the distant past and far future beyond our reach. But we can all reach beyond our grasp!

Past generations have influenced us and we can influence other generations! Living a full life means relating to others of other generations. We can relate to those older than us (not as many options here for those my age and older). They have much life experience from which we can draw. They feel more useful and loved when we “younger” folks pay them attention and give them love.

We can be intentional about relating to and making friends with those younger than us. Contrary to what we oldsters might think, younger people like to know we care about them. We have much we can share with them, in a non-preachy/teachy way. We can also learn from them, gaining their respect when we do.

The three different ages of the blossoms on the rose bush reminded me that God’s intention is for us to reach out to those of different ages. Blessings are meant to pass from one generation to another, an opportunity to be both blessed and a blessing!

“I will sing of the Lord’s great love forever; with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations.” Psalm 89:1

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