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, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God. Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled. In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us. Titus 2:1-8
You can’t go far without spotting generational tension. The older generation desires respect, the young generation desires understanding. Before too long, walls are built to divide instead of bridges to connect.
It can be interesting to discover the generation you are a part of and the hallmarks of it. Regardless, with whether you are from the Silent Generation or Gen Alpha, we have to begin to do 3 basic things: Listen, Teach/Learn, and Pray
All people want to be heard. There is great wisdom to be gleaned from older generations. Older generations should not be feared or looked down upon, but should be treated with respect and honor. Their stories of life, and the hard lessons learned can help to guide and stabilize younger generations. Younger generations should also be heard. They are full of zeal! Yet, those visions need to be tempered with wisdom. Both generations can help encourage the other.
Whether it is how to operate a cell phone app or an eyewitness account of a historical moment, we can teach and learn from each other. Paul admonished Titus to teach and encourage the generations. If we do not teach each other, I fear we will be lost. The older generation will become stagnant, and the younger will have no mooring. We must be patient and hand down the lessons, especially the lesson of faith, just as Israel was instructed to do by Moses. As it says in Psalm 145:4, “One generation commends your works to another; they tell of your mighty acts.”
Finally, but most importantly, we must pray for the generations that are now, and for the ones that are to come. In a humorous sketch, “Millennials”, Micah Tyler calls us to pray for the rising generation because soon we will look up to them in business, industry, education and politics. Those are huge and scary shoes to fill! The young around us need our help to grow not only into productive citizens, but also into men and women who will whole-heartedly fear the Lord. We have the awesome responsibility and privilege to teach them how to study, think and pray.
This week, I encourage you to make a prayer journal of generations. Beside a picture or name of a person from a generation that is different from yours, write how you have been blessed by the individual. Think of ways you can pray for them, or praise God for them. Finally, think of ways you can better serve, honor, or listen to them.
By Sheila Rennau