by Michael Holland
We had family in over a weekend recently for one of my son’s plays. One of my twenty-something nieces was having trouble with her busted-up iPhone, so I offered up one of our old ones as a replacement. To her query regarding payment, I went old school, saying, “one day I’ll call on you for a favor and you’ll do it, no questions asked”. This brought a round of laughter from our gathered family as well as a bit of bewilderment as to what might be asked of her. I was just talking off the cuff: I knew I couldn’t take money from her so a future favor felt like a good barter.
Late that night we were hanging around the kitchen which is, of course, the only place people really gather. At one point the conversation turned to God and I caught this same twenty-something niece rolling her eyes, so of course I had to ask what she thought about God. This is always a great topic for a late Saturday night conversation among family from multiple generations with beliefs that cross the full spectrum. And I love getting in (or instigating, maybe) debates and conversations that bring out people’s real thoughts, opinions, frustrations, and perspectives. A healthy family is one that can have great debate and still love and respect each other, and we have been blessed in this way.
The next morning I had a great revelation on cashing in on the favor from my niece. I’d give her a copy Tim Keller’s The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism and an assignment to read the book so that she’d be in an even better position for our next debate. I’m not sure what adjective best describes her reaction, but she took the book and agreed to read it. And knowing her, I’m sure she’ll follow through. She’s an honorable, wonderful, intelligent, beautiful, well-educated, articulate young woman.
And so, realizing that she is ALL those things, I decided I better re-read Keller’s book so I can fully enjoy the conversation, debate, and discussion in order to make sure that she and I can grow in our appreciation for each other, even if we don’t agree on certain things. The strength of diversity within a family is only leveragable when we love and accept each person for who they are and who they are becoming.
The strength of diversity within a family is only leveragable when we love and accept each person for who they are and who they are becoming.
(To be continued. . . .)