I had a rather remarkable conversation last night between the extreme generations in my family. The conversation started with my father who is 91. Dad had texted me to ask if I could help him with his iPhone, and I called to see what I could do. As it turned out, my father wanted to learn how to set the alarm on his phone. Because he has hearing loss and doesn’t wear his hearing aids at night, he often doesn’t hear his alarm in the morning. Most mornings that’s ok, but when he has an early morning appointment to a doctor’s office, he doesn’t sleep well, because he’s worried about oversleeping his alarm. What an interesting problem. It would not have occurred to me that this could be a concern.
I began to try to talk through how to set the alarm on his phone and got stuck trying to describe what to do. So I went upstairs and sent him a zoom link so we could talk face to face, and I could see his phone. That worked better, but his iPhone is different from mine. The clock was missing, and I confused about what to do next. So I called my oldest son Stephen, who is 32, and asked him to join us on zoom. He was very willing to help his grandpa. So then we had three generations over 60 years apart trying to figure out Dad’s technical problems. I was so proud of Stephen. He not only figured out how to locate the clock, but he very slowly and patiently walked his grandfather through a process for setting the alarm and turning up the sound so he could hear it.
When I was studying for my doctorate, I did a lot of reading about the millennial generation of which Stephen is a part. Lot of times I hear people make disparaging comments about the millennials, but the reading I did highlighted their strengths. One of the strengths of this generation is that many of them understand technology well. This puts them in the unusual place of often teaching their elders which is what happened last night. Another strength is that they highly value relationships and family. My father and I certainly benefitted from these gifts and values in Stephen last night.
The Apostles (Peter and Paul both) understood we are different people with different gifts. We please God when we use those gifts for the greater good to serve and help each other. I cherish the moments when I see my family and my church family use their God given gifts to love and serve others.
Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen. (I Peter 4: 10 – 11)
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