Pass It On…Through Stories

(Originally written in June, 1997)

I rose early to catch a plane to visit a major customer. While we were getting prepared for takeoff, I was reading my Bible (The Message-Paraphrase), in Psalm 78. I read (verse 2) “I let you in on the sweet old truths, stories that we heard from our fathers, counsel that we learned at our mother’s knee.  We’re not keeping this to ourselves, we’re “passing it on” to the next generation – God’s fame and fortune, the marvelous things that He has done.” It was a time for reflection for me, because it went on to say (verse 5), “He commanded our parents to teach it to their children so that the next generation would know, and all the generations to come – know the truth and tell the stories, so their children can trust in God.”

This was challenging to me, because just a few days before I had taken our youngest daughter to the church for her wedding. While the girls spent the day getting ready, I returned home for a short rest before my “long” walk down the aisle.  As I was all alone, I thought over the last twenty-two years of Kami’s life and my twenty-eight years as a father. All of our three children would now be married, two grandchildren were already here, and we would be living in an “empty nest.” Had we “passed it on?” Had we shared with Kami enough of the truths in our own lives or were we just hypocrites? Had we encouraged her to seek the source of truth herself? Would she and her husband Mark know how to examine the truths for themselves, so that they would be able to teach their own children to trust God? Had I safety passed on the baton, or was there the fearful drop which would prohibit the orderly transfer to another generation? We’re seeing in our great country today, that in just one or two generations, hundreds of years of learning and heritage can be lost.

The sad part is that even when we “pass it on”, the next generation may reject the lessons. The Psalmist went on to say that the children of Israel forgot God’s work and refused His ways. Even though God performed miracles, led them, and provided for them, He was rejected. The children rebelled (verse 18), “tried to get their own way… and whined like spoiled children.”

How are you doing with your children? Do you take time around the dinner table for stories? Is there time for long walks, lazy weekends, and family vacations? Or is it a mad rush of TV, DVDs, computer games, cell phones, and delivery to the next activity? Is there time for good books, grandparents, and milk and cookies? Do you stay up and ask them about their day? Have you taken the time to get to know their friends? Do you take them to church with you and do you read the Bible together? Have you given them the thirst to seek eternal truths for themselves?

If the above questions are discouraging for us, remember that we can start where we are today.  Many of us do get a second chance. We are older, wiser, and have more time as grandparents. As I drove to the church that Saturday, I realized that I had not been a perfect dad particularly in the early years, but most of my input to my three children had been completed. I decided that I was now available for counsel (when asked), for friendship, and as an example (scary thought!). Now my primary emphasis would be to be the best grandfather possible. Perhaps the book was “right on” in the title of “Live, Learn, and Pass It On”.

Telling My Stories


Biblical Challenges to “Pass it On”

Deuteronomy 6:5-7 Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.

Deuteronomy 4:9 Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.

Proverbs 22:6 Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.

Joel 1:3 Tell it to your children, and let your children tell it to their children, and their children to the next generation. (Four generations!)

Isaiah 38:19 The living, the living – they praise you, as I am doing today; fathers tell their children about your faithfulness.

Psalm 78:4 We will not hide them from their children; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, His power, and the wonders He has done.

Psalm 78:5 He decreed statues for Jacob and established the law in Israel, when He commanded our forefathers to teach their children.

Psalm 78:6 So the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children.

Judges  2:10 After that whole generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation grew up, who knew neither the LORD nor what He had done for Israel.

Psalm 71:18 Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, O God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your might to all who are to come.

Psalm 145:4 One generation will commend your works to another; they will tell of your mighty acts.

Psalm 102:18 Let it be written for a future generation, that a people not yet created may praise the LORD.

Deuteronomy 31:13 Their children, who do not know this law, must hear it and learn to fear the LORD your God as long as you live in the land.

Psalm 34:11 Come, my children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD.

Proverbs 3:1 My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart.


About kenthumphreys
Kent Humphreys has been a business leader for over forty years. He also served as CEO of FCCI/Christ@Work for six years and now serves as their worldwide ambassador, speaking, writing, and mentoring young leaders. He continues to be active in distribution, private equities, and real estate. Kent and his wife Davidene have written six books together. They have three children and eight grand-children.

2 Responses to Pass It On…Through Stories

  1. Gene Anderson says:

    This speaks volumes–but then so do your lives. Stay blessed!!

  2. Cathy Westm says:

    Thank you!

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