It seems like all the rules for what matters, and what makes one acceptable, change in the teen years.
Beautiful hand-drawn artwork is exchanged for beauty derived from makeup and magazines. The fast and strong boys vie for top position in sports, cars, girls as the new version of fast and strong emerges.
Thank God for the super models.
Not the beauties and brawns on the magazine covers and movies. Those who are the real deal.
Resourcefulness and Joy
My grandmother, Belle Sparger, was a super [role] model to me. The youngest daughter of a large family farming the hot, dry dirt of Texas before and during the Depression years, she learned early how to work hard, doing her best at all her hand found to do (including milking, cleaning the henhouse, baseball, and schoolwork).
As a little girl, I loved to listen to her stories about her growing up years. She and her sisters had the best time—with no air conditioning, lots of hard work, no media, and very few material possessions. Yet, being young women, they did want to look their best when finished with their chores. So, they sewed their own dresses, rolled their hair, and together, sang as their own little choir at church, in addition to holding their own, playing the boys in baseball.
Belle demonstrated doing her best no matter what the job—and resourcefulness and joy all throughout her life.
Service and Respect
She married my grandfather Marvin Sparger, and served alongside him. A service it was too—hoeing the tomato field in the heat of Texas’ summer for their truck farming business when pregnant with their first child (my Aunt Joan pictured here with parents Belle and Marvin).
The astounding part, to me, was that Grandmother worked as hard as a man well into her 70s, and then cooked the best homemade meals you could eat—and looked pretty while she was doing it. The men respected her because she was respectful—and she carried her own weight. The women respected her because she was kind and deferential in her treatment of others—until it came to defend a cause she fully believed in.
Physical and Spiritual Knowledge
I thought the encyclopedia was my Grandmother! Any question I had—she knew the answer to and what to do about it. The kinds of trees. The insects that disturbed that kind of tree. And, what to do to the insect to keep them from disturbing that kind of tree, etc.
She loved God and the Bible which she studied thoroughly. I remember her and me disagreeing on a point–so I used Scripture to back up my viewpoint—to which she replied, “well then, that settles it.” Scripture—the Word of God—was the final word on a matter for her.
Love and Kindness
At her funeral, we heard from so many family members that Belle was “my favorite aunt.” I knew what they meant. She genuinely cared about others—moving beyond herself and her manifold duties–to let them know it by her words and actions.
In my teens, I, too, felt that the rules that defined what true beauty and strength changed. As a young mother, however, I found myself coming full circle to the picture of beauty and strength I saw in my Grandmother.
It’s a beauty that doesn’t fade—because it goes so much further than skin deep. It’s a beauty that is strong and dependable. I always felt if anything went wrong, there was nothing to be concerned about because Grandmother would know what to do. I wanted to be like that, too.
“[Physical] Beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” Proverbs 31:30
Show YOUR Picture
My grandmother was not perfect. No one is.
The Lord Jesus Christ alone is the perfect super model. But we need to see “pictures” of what His beauty and strength look like through others.
After all her years of doing, Grandmother’s years of being (after my granddaddy’s passing) are the ones in which I had the blessing of seeing her beautiful inner qualities.
Mothers and fathers—grandmothers and grandfathers—the little ones are absorbing from you much more than you realize.
Look away from what you can’t do, and what you don’t have.
Look at your children, grandchildren, and the young of this generation.
Investing in them—be that listening, valuing, sharing, cooking, cleaning, teaching, gardening, mowing, and praying—is the greatest thing you can do.
And it will last. Beyond the current trends in hairdos and tattoos.
Students are bombarded with “false pictures” of beauty and strength in the culture, at school, on social media.
They need to see “true pictures” that only you can give. It’s the simplest, but most influential gift you can give—that of your true beauty and strength shared with the younger generation in prayer and in person.
It is from the older generation that the younger learns how to “be.”
You are the real deal in a world of smoke and mirrors.
We need you—not to work hard to “be relevant” to them, but to value who they are, and let them be with you, let them be heard, let them see your true picture.
Father, thank You so much for the gift of super models that You have given within our families and the family of believers. Where there needs to be healing in hearts so nurture can flow, please do so, Father. We invite You in to do Your restorative work in hearts and draw families back together.
Father, renew the energy and strength, renew the hope, renew the vision, renew purpose in the mothers, fathers, grandmothers, grandfathers. Strengthen them. Grace them.
Encourage them to know that the best they have to give is doable. And that their greatest return on investment is sowing love and truth into the next generation.
Connect them in prayer and in person with the little ones and students who You know will love to learn from and listen to them. Help it to flow naturally. Set up divine connections. Restore the tri-generational connection that You ordained, restore and do much more, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, amen.