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  • Maggie Wallem Rowe

Mother Doesn't Always Know Best - Why We All Win by Listening (Part 2)

So did you catch my $300 story last week?

In 1982, Reader's Digest paid us $300 for the funny true story I shared with you- all 128 words of it! That would be over $800 in today's currency, which at the time was nearly 1/10 of our annual ministry income. If you missed it, you can read it here.

More importantly, what are we missing when we refuse to listen to younger people?

When she was five, our daughter Amber came home from kindergarten one warm day and asked for an ice cream cone. She watched as I pulled out a package of cones, tore off the cellophane wrapper, opened the cardboard box, and slid out the Styrofoam insert before removing a cone. As I added the ice cream, my five-year-old frowned and said, “Mama, that is not environmentally-friendly packaging!”

I stared at Amber, then at the package. She was right - all those landfill-bound wrappings for six silly sugar cake cones? She was learning about creation-care in school, and to this day she’s discerning about what she purchases and consumes. She also taught me the value of recycling.

When Amber’s college friends became engaged and shopped for diamond rings, they were careful not to purchase “blood diamonds” mined in a war zone and sold to finance conflict. When I was a young woman that never would have occurred to me. Our children’s generation cares deeply about those who produce the goods they consume, not only about the products themselves.

With my daughter at our 25th wedding anniversary celebration 20 years ago

These have been teaching moments for me.

Does this mean our children, and younger people in general, are always right? Of course not, no more than we were at their age.

But it does mean that humility, as well as wisdom, needs to accompany age.

The humility to recognize there is more than one side to many cultural situations. We need to thoughtfully study them while considering the views of others who may have a different perspective based on their education, experience and expertise.

The humility to listen before we speak, grant the benefit of the doubt before we react, and pray before we act.

The humility that reflects the very nature of the One many of us worship, Jesus the Christ, who “humbled himself in obedience to God” when he walked this earth in human form (Phil. 2:8).

As my mom used to say, wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes all by itself.

It’s too easy in our polarized society to become entrenched in our opinions, stubbornly refusing to consider that the children we raised to think for themselves are actually doing what we taught them.

If we cannot talk to the younger generation about their views, we might as well snatch ourselves baldheaded.

Because pretty soon they might not be talking to us at all.

Is there a young person in your life who might need reassurance that you respect his or her opinions? How can you reach out to let them know you’re ready to listen?

@Copyright Maggie Wallem Rowe, 2021



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