“They are,” I agreed, my mind churning the thoughts over, and added, “But then again we’re softer than the generation before us.”
“Yeah, that’s true,” my oldest brother agreed.
“I guess we did alright though, we came around,” I mumbled while pondering aloud the next generation directly behind us in God’s chronological time line.
My big brother and I know good and well that as strong or tough as we might think we are, we don’t hold a candle to our predecessors. A lot of that has to do with where we come from and bloodlines we hail from.
I’m also keenly aware of the fact that my big brothers had it light years harder than I did… one of the few perks that come with being the youngest I can assure you.
My brothers were years nearer to the days of my dad and his family hailing from the struggling south. They were closer to the days of their family’s bloody hands and knuckles from draggin’ sacks and pickin’ cotton by hand.
It’s hard to imagine how my dad kept his mouth shut when I was coming of age. As I look back on my teenage years, I realize there is zero chance that I would have been able to bite my tongue the way my dad did.
I wasn’t as concerned with survival as the generation before me. I was more concerned with being cool… While we didn’t have much, I didn’t have to pick cotton. Not only that, but my parents didn’t make me quit school to help put beans on the table like my dad did either. It’s hard for a youngster that doesn’t have to struggle through things like that to consider those kinds of notions…
No sir, we had different priorities in my generation. We had more important issues to dwell and stress over. We had things like platform shoes to consider… When I graduated from eighth grade I proudly sported my platform shoes, the ever-popular leisure suit, and of course the long hair slung over to one side of my face so that it cooly covered my right eye.
While my dad was able to keep a lid on his opinion, my brothers were another matter. If their tongues were swords, I’d have bled out before they ran me through the heart.
At the age I was at the time when platforms and leisure suits ruled the day, I couldn’t have been but a few years older than the age my dad had been when he had to go to school… with no shoes at all…
I was a different person some decades later, just a couple of years before God called my dad home to Him. I cherish the conversation we had when my dad told me that he guessed he was one of the last walking cotton pickers. I suppose he was… and I’m proud of him for that, but I’m prouder for the life of honor that my dad strived for and lived. If I’d been a man with the same messed up priorities that saddled me as a kid, my dad wouldn’t have wasted his breath and heart to share something so intimate.
I think about things like that when I consider the next generation. If a person like me could allow God to wrestle away my crown of foolishness with my free will, I’d say there’s a pretty good chance He will the ones who follow in our footsteps too.