• Jason Wade


22 Listen to your father, who gave you life,

and do not despise your mother when she is old. 23 Buy the truth and do not sell it—

wisdom, instruction and insight as well.

24 The father of a righteous child has great joy; a man who fathers a wise son rejoices in him. 25 May your father and mother rejoice; may she who gave you birth be joyful! Proverbs 23:22-25

Family is the greatest thing that was ever created by God. In the very beginning of the world, God created so much that he called good, but at the creation of Adam and Eve, the first family, God said this is VERY GOOD. My whole life I never realized how much of a family person I really am. I remember growing up in a military family and moving from place to place, but the one thing that I always wanted was just a place where my family could be in one place and settle, grow up and connect. This burden has followed me all throughout my life, and I swore that I would do everything in my power to protect my family from having to do the same thing that I experienced growing up.... then I followed my call into the ministry. I know that may seem crazy for many of you, but the reality is we all have been given such an amazing opportunity during these days to take time and connect with our families. Over the last few months, I have found a way to connect with my girls on a more individual level and the only thing that it truly cost me was time. One of the hardest lessons that I have learned is the fact that we cannot recover the time we have lost, so we must make the most of the time we have left to connect and restore the greatest relationships that God has given us.

I say that because even as a student and family minister, some times it is so much easier to help others go through their struggles than it is to be able to apply the same teachings at home. But I continue to pray every day that my family does not lose the legacy and foundation of God's Word in their life. I pray that they are protected from the craziness of the church world and they can experience the love of God in such a rich and meaningful way. It is truly an honor and a blessing to be a parent but I know that I am even more blessed by the people who pour into the life of my daughters who are not parents. It means that we all have to work together to do the best that we can to influence the lives of our students, friends, or

even strangers. We all leave behind a piece of ourselves in the lives of every person that we meet and that piece could be one of kindness and joy or bitterness and envy. We must continue to pray for the people who influence our lives and the lives we also has the opportunity to influence. When we take hold of the life lessons that we learn from our parents, we are able to recognize the importance of time and presence. That does not mean that every lesson we learn is one that is positive. I know that there are many people who did the exact opposite of their parents because of the example they were shown and they made a decision to be a better influence in this world. The same is true with the words of Solomon that we read today.

Solomon is once again leaning in on the importance of family. He begins by talking about the words of a righteous father. Now understand that yes, this was a patriarchal society at the time so we need to recognize the context in which Solomon was speaking and apply it to our context for today. In other words, we must be willing to follow the teachings of our parents and recognize that they may not have all of the answers, but for the most part, they are wanting the best for us. I know that there are so many books about parenting, but the reality about parenting is that we must truly just step in and get messy and make some mistakes before we realize what parenting really means. But as children/students, we must also recognize the importance of the phrase "Honor your Father and Mother." This is the first promise to the 10 commandments and helps us realize the importance of the legacy we carry. When we say honor it does not only mean that we are to follow their commands, but that we carry the family name into every situation that we face. When I was going in to high school, I was placed in an honors English class with a teacher that my brother had had the year before as a senior. Needless to say that siblings are all different, but as soon as she called out my name she asked the question... is so and so your brother. I said yes ma'am and immediately she responded that she hoped that I was a better student than him. We carry a lot on our shoulders as parents and as students so we have to work hard together to maintain the foundations of the family.

In closing today I did want to spend a separate time on the word joy today. I know that there are many times that children do not realize the joy that swells within the hearts of their parents. The times where it may seem as something ridiculous to the child but the parent literally feels the joy of God in their hearts. For me, some of those moments have been the birth of both of my daughters... their first steps, first words. The day that they were able to feed themselves and even the first days of school every year. The honor and privilege I have had to take them to school almost every day of their lives and watching as they have cheered, danced, performed in gymnastics, talent shows, dancing father/daughter dances, volleyball and experiencing God in their lives at both of their baptisms. I have experienced joy vicariously through the students who I have watched grow up and become leaders in various areas of life, some who are still in school and others who have now become parents

of their own. I have experienced joy in life and in death and have had the opportunity to watch over 3,000 youth cross the stage at graduation, home plate in their final ball game and sing at their final concerts. The joy I see in the eyes of the parents wipes away the many times of arguments and frustrations. Satan attempt everything to break apart the family, but God created a stronger bond that is passed on to future generations. Rejoicing comes in the morning every day because of the opportunities that we have to see the blessing that God has given to us in the form of our children and the blessing we watch as they continue to grow into amazing adults to carry on the not just our name but the name of Jesus. We have the choice to pour in and surround our children with whatever we deem to be important, and trust me that will be what they cling to in the times of hardship and troubles. May each of our days reflect a lot more joy because of the legacy that we are able to build and pass on in the lives of our families.

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