by Tad Lindley
Thinking about fish camp and those that have lead the way for us, I pulled this out of the archives. It still makes me cry to read it. Dad is now gone a few years, but his teaching remains.
My wife found me standing still under the back of the drying rack staring at the kings. Oil was rolling slowly down the slabs dripping onto the ground.
“Are you mad that we’re putting the slabs in early,” she asked.
I shook my head.
“What is it then?”
“It’s your dad.” Tears welled up and began to flow down my cheeks.
It had hit me a few minutes earlier when I was in the puyurcivik. I was hanging paired slabs on the poles. I paused to study the spruce posts and the lumber nailers inside the smoke house. Some time in years distant at a fish camp long since eroded away, his mind had conceived the plan, sawed the driftwood, nailed the lumber, and covered it with sheet metal. And as I stood on top of the saw horse in the puyurcivik, Dad sat in his house in Bethel, his once sharp mind now faded, his body too unsteady to even get in the boat. He didn’t even know it was June.
In that moment I realized that all along he had seen this day coming. I was flooded with memories of how he patiently instructed me about every little aspect of fish camp. All those late evenings when the ladies were cutting fish and he was teaching me, he was preparing me for a time when he would no longer be there. The time had now come and when I understood that, I wept.
Teach your children
Hillary Clinton popularized the African proverb, “It takes a whole village to raise a child”. It sounds good, but according to the Bible, it doesn’t take a village, it takes parents. And these words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart; and you shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. (Deuteronomy 6:6-7, NASB)
As parents we are directed to train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6) Notice the word “train”. When we train somebody we are doing more than telling. Training is a combination of telling, modeling, guiding, and then finally releasing our children as independent adults. It is not enough for us to tell our kids to say their prayers before they go to bed and then we run to the computer and hop on Facebook. They need a mom or a dad beside them, guiding them, modeling for them.
Teach like a Rechabite
In Jeremiah 35, the prophet is ordered by God to go to a tribe of people called the Rechabites. Furthermore, the Lord told Jeremiah to bring these people into the house of the Lord and give them wine to drink. Jeremiah set the wine before them, but they would not drink. For 250 years, from one generation to the next, they had taught their children to abstain from wine. And because they would not deviate from the ways that had been handed down from generation to generation, God gave this awesome promise: Therefore thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; Jonadab the son of Rechab shall not want a man to stand before me for ever. (Jeremiah 35:19) This means that there are still Rechabites living on planet earth today maintaining their strict standard of living 2,500 years later!
2,500 years of good teaching
Let me close by asking you this question. If Jesus were somehow to delay his coming, and your children teach your grandchildren in the same way that you taught them, and your grandchildren were to teach their children in that same way, how will they live? Will they know how to feed their bodies from the land? Will they know how to feed their souls from the word of God? It may very well hinge on how you teach your children. Teach them well against the day that you are gone and they must stand without you.
Tad Lindley is a minister at the United Pentecostal Church in Bethel, Alaska.