Ask any kid or teenage and he or she will admit to thinking that their parents are strange at least occasionally. Most children will attest to the fact that they do not understand their parents or their decisions. I am no different. I often joke how my parents were hippies (They really were!) and that used to explain away any of their “weird rules.” As a teenager, I just assumed my parents were against everything and I was going to grow up deprived. I know, now how much they spared me from and how much they prepared me for life. I see, with the beauty of hindsight, all the wonderful things they instilled in me and how they gave me “a goodly heritage.” These revelations have become even clearer to me now that I am the parent of teens. My teens now think I am weird, and they do not understand all the reasons behind a decision. Just as my parents strived to give me a “goodly heritage,” my husband and I are focused on that same goal.
If you ask them today, they would say there were some mistakes. I don’t remember those; I just remember the good parts. The following are a few memories that have stuck out:
- Both my parents were saved in their 20s. The joy of their salvation was something they were always ready to talk about. They knew the difference it had made in their lives.
- While careful in their stories of life before salvation, they were always quick to point out the “way of the transgressor was hard.”
- They were my parents; they were not my friends. They guided me and helped mold me, but that line between child and parent was never blurred.
- They never spoke against the Man of God. They also taught me the punishment for speaking against the man of God. She-bears, ring a bell?
- Church was the heartbeat of our lives. Our schedule revolved around what was happening at church and how we could be involved.
- They didn’t care what was cool or a novelty at the time. When Nintendo first came out and my sister and I asked our parents for one, my mother said her now-infamous phrase, “You’ll get a Nintendo over my dead body,” She stuck to that decision. We never got a Nintendo, and, believe it or not, I survived.
- We were never allowed to waste hours watching TV. Summer was supposed to be spent outside, doing chores, and volunteering at the church.
- Our world was big. The happenings in our home were not the center of the universe. We were exposed to missionaries past and present. They had obstacles that were bigger than our problems, they overcame and trusted in God to guide them.
- We learned conservative principles at an early age. My Dad loved talk radio and I listened in. When I heard something that I did not understand, I would ask. I was taught what both sides of the argument were and what he as a Christian believed. Then I was asked what I thought.
- When we went on vacation it was to see something or experience something. Fun? Well, that happened any night at home, we didn’t need to go somewhere for that to happen.
- My parents taught me that the Christian life was a battle. I needed to equip myself daily and prepare every day to be a good solider for my Lord. Whether the day was one of victory or defeat, each morning you got up and prepared for another battle by spending time with God. As a child, I often found my parents reading their Bibles.
- They put their treasure where their heart was. They found a way to give, above tithes and missions, to whatever offering was being taken. They also found a way to give to others. Whether it was paying for another couple to go on a couples retreat or buying a suit for a young teen, they always found ways to invest in the lives of others.
In Psalm 78, I found the truth I am hoping to convey. The father told their children of all that the Lord had done for them.
We will not hide them from their children, shewing to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done. For he established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children: That the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children: That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments:
I am full of gratitude for the “goodly heritage” I was given. The prayer of my heart is that I might pass down what I have been given so that my children will echo the words of the Psalmist, “set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments.”
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Mrs. Chung grew up around the work of the ministry and now has the privilege of teaching at the North Valley Baptist Schools. She and her husband faithfully teach young people and are a vital asset to the ministry of NVBC.