I have just returned from another exciting week-long Homiletics Festival, this time in lovely San Antonio, Texas. There I heard some amazing sermons and brilliant lectures. There I was also privileged to meet some interesting people, a great many of them Boomers. Alas, I only heard the term Baby Boomer mentioned once, and then only in passing. It would have been good to have been given some guidelines on how better to reach this important demographic through this equally important medium we call preaching. Even the book room had little to nothing to offer on the subject of Boomers and what the Good News might sound like from their perspective.
My guess is that it would touch on some of the discussions and echo many of the themes that came up at our last Grand-parenting workshop a week ago. Because this was just before I flew out to San Antonio, I did not get a chance to reflect on our wonderful time together, which was led by our excellent facilitator, Parent and Family Educator Susan McKane.
After the session, Susan observed that some of the most profound sharing came from the grandfathers. One man commented, for example, that “his grandchild had changed his thinking from hoping that he was pleasing his father (looking backward) to doing what he is doing for the benefit of his grandchildren (looking forward).” Several couples also shared stories of real courage as they talked about their family struggles with addictions and how they have worked to make those difficult situations and relationships whole and healthy again. One couple talked about how this time of life had given them a fresh opportunity to build a new and better relationship with their adult children. Another man said he prayed that his son and daughter might learn from his mistakes and, as a consequence, take more time for family and self-care, especially time to develop a healthy spirituality.
The need for grandparents to set boundaries was a topic that came up again and again. One woman even cited author Brené Brown, who wrote: “the most compassionate people that I’ve ever interviewed…happened to be the most boundaried.” (Daring Greatly, chapter 7) In other words, they were people who had very clear boundaries about what they were willing to do, what they were not willing to do, what they were willing to take on, and what they were not willing to take on.
As I have noted, this is just one of the important topics that came up during our sessions together. Clearly we have much more to discuss. For now, it is good to take some time to reflect on these wonderful mornings of open, honest sharing and invite the Spirit to enter into our pondering and thoughtful meditation.
Many thanks to Susan for starting us on this journey and to everyone who came and shared!