I’ve been thinking lately about adventures, and about the life that my kids have before them. I am aware that the adventures are simply different now than they were a generation ago, and that has always been true. Things change, and the changes mean that kids grow up differently than we did.
The fact is that my kids life will be dominated by electronics and information, more so than my life was, and much more so than my parents. They understand computers instinctively and easily because they have grown up with them.
Where we live there are still lots of trails and wide open spaces and areas for exploring, but most of the conquering of the land has been done.
That is my grandfather on the far left, and his brothers. They were in Nebraska, growing up on a farm with their father who was an immigrant from Switzerland. They worked hard and they conquered the land in that area…they were creative and had imaginations that spurred them. There was a river that ran right by the property, and in the winter it would freeze. Of course, they would skate on this….but I think they did that with more style than I would:
They would take chunks of this ice and put in in their ice house…a building dug deep into the ground to stay cold, and they would insulate it with sawdust saved from cutting the wood to burn through the winter. Then, in the summer when no one had ice, the Mossman family would have a big barn dance on July 4th, complete with ice cream.
They worked hard, and from the stories they played hard as well. They danced and the skated and, if listening to my dad is a lesson…they told stories. They were adventurous souls and strong. One of my uncles bought a bi-plane so he could fly around and collect honey from different places around Nebraska. He ended up being a supplier for SueBee Honey, and I would write how much he delivered but I can’t remember and you would just think I was exaggerating.
Here’s the thing though…they had a sense of humor. It comes through in the pictures. There is a smile there in spite of…or maybe because of the…the harsh life they faced.
And their blood runs in my veins and my children’s veins.
I don’t know how the challenges my children face will form their strength and their humor. The fact is, they don’t face that many challenges right now…they have a pretty easy life. I like that in some ways, but I also am deeply aware that suffering forms us in ways that ease cannot.
Suffering, hardship, struggle…they bring out a character in us, and a humor, that is unique. There may not be lands to be conquered around us, but there ist still life to be conquered. There are fears and struggles around them that they will face that will give them the opportunity to conquer…to stand in the midst of difficulty and see that God works there.
I wonder how I would have fared on the farm in Nebraska…I wonder what those relatives would think of how I carry myself in the challenges I face. It may just be loads of laundry and keeping growing boys (and girl!) fed and cared for, and now also to educate them. I may not have fields to plow or things to invent, but even this easy life has its momentary challenges. I hope that the humor I see in the pictures of my father’s family will appear in the pictures of my family. I hope that it will tell that the adventurous spirit still is evident and that we still are able to stand strong in the midst of this life. I hope my children carry on the strength of their fathers. They will face challenges and suffering and hardship, and that strength is there…it is part of them. It is in their blood.