Contributing Writer: Leslie Foster Ponderings from an Ohio Farm Girl
Last Sunday was Father’s Day, and whilst writing in the card I gave my dad, I was reminded of all the stuff he has taught me. I’m blessed to have a pretty darn awesome dad. He has taught me so many things, both in word and deed. Often, lessons that seem unimportant have deeper, hidden importance. Here are a couple of lessons my dad taught me, and the deeper lessons I’m slowly finding, hidden inside.
1. Lock your doors.
Even though I grew up on a small farm in a rural part of Ohio, my parents always locked the house when we left the house. My dad said it was “to keep honest people honest”. As a kid I didn’t think much about it, but as an adult I realize that what this lesson boils down to is helping people make good choices. In Luke 17:2, Jesus tells us that we’re better off dead than causing someone else to sin. Strong words. Am I causing a thief to sin if I leave my house unlocked? No. But is it possible that someone’s more likely to steal something from me if there aren’t any obstacles? Maybe. Why take the chance? Shouldn’t we try to help people when we can? And so, I lock my doors.
2. Slow down on icy roads.
In my family, the day you got your driver’s permit, you became the family chauffeur. If you were IN a car, you were DRIVING a car, until you got your license. My birthday is in February. February in Ohio is usually cold, sometimes icy, and often snowy. And so, I heard this bit of advice many, MANY times during my 16th year. It’s good for driving, but it’s a good life lesson, too. In a class in grad school, one professor warned us that as Americans, we’re especially likely to screw stuff up by rushing; we’re trained that way by a culture that values speed and efficiency. But those two things don’t necessarily go hand in hand. So slow down. Think it through. Make a choice based on thoughtful consideration rather than panicked, knee-jerk reactions. It might keep you out of the ditch, or better yet, out of the hospital.
3. You’re not really hungry; go drink a big glass of water.
Ok, I’m not gonna lie; I really, REALLY hated it when he said this. If I felt hungry, I wanted to EAT, not DRINK (especially not water- boring!!). But the deeper lesson here is really important: look for and treat the REAL problem. It’s not always the obvious choice. Sometimes thirst is misinterpreted as hunger. Likewise, sometimes fear is expressed as anger; insecurity can show itself as arrogance; a broken spirit can look just like rebellion. Things aren’t always what they seem, so look carefully. Seek out the truth, and act accordingly.
Dad taught me loads more stuff than this, but I hope these few lessons will encourage you. As a parent, an aunt or uncle, a teacher, or a friend, we’re all teaching lessons. May we all strive to teach lessons with deeper meaning. The rest is just details.
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