A Saguaro cactus takes about a century to reach towering heights. It’s impressive to realize one of its seeds planted on the day a child is born might still be going strong when that child’s grandchildren have grandchildren of their own. It is during the latter years that the cactus makes its most iconic visual statement, pointing high into the heavens, sheltering families of birds, bats, and other desert animals.
Grandparents can be a lot like the Saguaro. After decades of living, those of us who reach our “mature” years have already overcome many of the challenges today’s younger generations are first experiencing. But, we have the advantage of knowing what it is like to grow up in a more innocent time with fewer distractions. We didn’t need reflecting gardens or meditation circles to calm the chaos.
As a child, I learned about my parents’ faith from the way they lived as well as the words they used. They were content with what they had and worked to improve their situation. I learned to appreciate their strong Christian ethics. Because of their financial sacrifices, I attended a private school that reinforced their lessons and laid down a solid base of knowledge for my continued education.
It wasn’t until years later that I fully appreciated what they had given to me. It helps to remind myself of this during times when I question the value of what I’m doing to teach my grandson about faith in Jesus. My grandson sees my struggles, but he also sees how God gives me strength to persevere when I would rather give up.
Children learn by what they observe. That’s one way vertical vision works. Vertical vision works best when I lift my eyes upward to the Father, who sustains me during the dry periods and refreshes my spirit. That is one lesson I hope to pass along.
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